Culture Shock

Hubby hunters, you're in luck

Rebecca Jacobson
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As a foreign woman, get used to hearing the question “Muli pabanja?” This literally translates to “Do you have a family?” but functions more like a marriage proposal. Such propositions can come daily in Malawi. A recent conversation of mine with a stranger in an oversized pinstriped suit ran like this: “Where are you walking?” (Home.) “What are you doing in Malawi?” (Research.) “Are you married?” (No.) “That makes me happy; let’s discuss.” I appreciated his matter-of-fact approach but declined further negotiation. Though unmarried travelers could create fictitious spouses or wear wedding bands to deflect such questions, laughter and a smile will usually do the job.

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