I just thought I should write a little bit more about chitenjes: what they actually are and what Malawian women use them for. Here’s a great post by a blogger who lived in Blantyre.
Chitenjes are probably the greatest things ever. A chitenje is a rectangular piece cloth, usually 2 to four meters in length and about one meter in width. The patterns are bright, the colors are vibrant and Malawian women use their chitenjes for a myriad of different purposes:
1) To carry their children on their backs. There are two ways to tie it: the first way is over one shoulder and the other is to wrap it tightly around their middle. Either way, the children always look happy or sleepy as they are secured tightly to their mothers.
2) To carry things on their heads. Malawian women are incredibly strong. They can lift a fifty pound bucket of water onto their heads without batting an eye. They have excellent posture and balance. Putting whatever it is their carrying on their heads seems to be their first inclination, whether it’s a suitcase…
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