September the 18th.

Years back, so many rains ago, this is the day that I, having outgrown the confines of a young woman’s womb, squeezed my way into the world and proclaimed my emergence with a nice little howl.  A howl that was music to the woman who had painfully just evicted me. A howl that soothed her pain and brought smiles to the audience of hospital staff around her.

At least that’s how I imagine the moment of my emergence into the world. Remember there were no video cameras then to record that historic event. Of course, there were still cameras. So a visual record should’ve been possible. But back then cameras were huge beasts requiring strong shouldered men to lug them around.

And there lay the problem. Unless a man was a member of the hospital staff, he was persona non grata in a labour ward. I understand to this day bold “No Men Beyond This Point” signs still serve to chaperone men out of the majority of labour wards in Malawi.

So the only record of my grand entrance into the world was as a statistic in the hospital record books. And, of course, my arrival is forever etched in the memories of the woman who had lovingly given me refuge for nine months.

For nine months I had happily lived in a wonderful world, all on my own. I really enjoyed that solitary confinement! Hidden from disapproving adult scowls, I could do whatever took my fancy. I could suck my thumb, swim, somersault and just for the kick of it, do a few playful bicycle kicks to draw the attention of the landlady who was giving me shelter.

For nine months I didn’t have to scream to have nourishment or suffer inefficient waste management.  What a fabulous nine months. Nine months. Mmm? Wait! Wait! Wait! Do you see what I see?

You don’t, do you? Well, let me tell you.

When you count nine months backwards from September you get to January, right?

Now picture a young couple tethered in the shackles of temporary poverty fathered by Christmas and New Year celebrations. Paint incessant rains onto this already dreary January landscape and it shouldn’t be too hard to imagine a generally bored and miserable couple. Except when night fell. Then they would find solace in each other’s company. The young man would retrieve his guitar and strum some intricate tunes while his beloved wife’s lead vocals serenaded some of the tyranny out of that cruel January.

And here is a couple in the privacy of their home, soft love tunes in the air. What do you think would follow? Honestly, I don’t know. Anyway, let’s spare ourselves the details, shall we. Suffice it to say that one of their nocturnal acts of song and naughtiness spawned one joyous bundle of statistic now known as Dannie Grant Phiri.

Thank you mum. Thank you dad. The pair of you is proof that it really takes two to tango. By the way, I love you both so much I forgave your melodious January mischievous shenanigans the day I came into this world.

18th September. What a blessed day! January. What a blessed month!

9/17/2009 04:16:47 pm

Happy Birthday, albeit belated!

9/17/2009 05:22:41 pm

You flatter me. Nevertheless, you spur me onto be a little more prolific. I wish I could be able to blog as often as you do.

9/17/2009 06:19:25 pm

Dannie, your wrtings would make a good column for the newly launched Weekend Times, i think. It would make good reading for afriday afternoo, while having a cold one.

9/18/2009 02:06:27 am

May God grant you good health and peace. Do you have your earliest picture?

9/18/2009 02:46:54 am

Happy birthday my brother Dannie. Man you are truly gifted, nay, blessed. May your creative genius continue to be as verdant as it has been. More power to you. You make us very very proud. I, for one, can always claim to be your direct sibling on account of my surname. By the way those (hills) are an exact replica of you 0 original.

weather forecast captain
9/18/2009 12:24:17 pm

Iwas June 1 and consigned t the same... cold.


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    Children, too, can have profound thoughts
    The Three Little Hills (Phiris)