You don’t have to be an expert to see how alcoholism is slowly taking root in the lives of Malawians. Many people all over the country are drinking like nobody’s business and the effect of this is slowly catching up with us.
Apart from the people who patronize bottle stores, bars and beer halls, a new form of beer drinking has emerged. The coming in (or is it successful marketing) of some spirits packed in 50ml sachets has shortened the distance to the bottle stores. Young men and grown ups alike have the freedom of drinking anywhere, in minibuses, schools, stadiums, etc. all you need is to buy a good number of sachets (Boss, Tyson, Raider, Powers) which are very cheap (K50/sachet).
I recently travelled in a minibus from Limbe to Thyolo. When we were starting off everyone was okay and we anticipated having a good trip. A few miles after taking off, the conductor produced beer sachets and started drinking and it did not take long for him to get drunk. Some people tried to reason with him not to be drinking whilst on duty but fellow passengers defended him claiming it was his right (these rights!!). For fear of arguing with people, I chose to be quiet and just watched as the events unfolded. By the time we reached Luchenza, we (including our mums and dads who were not there), have had our share of insults and threats. This is just one example of how alcoholism is affecting people’s day to day lives.
Things of this nature are also happening in the various offices all over the country. People are coming to work full of hangover and their performance is affected and in the long run it affects the development of our country. One wonders what the relevant authorities are doing about this. The funny thing is that this is happening in both the rural and urban areas. You will be amazed to find a person drunk at 7am in the village.
The faith community has not been spared either. Contrary to what the laws of particular churches are saying, you will still find its members in drinking joints. There is need to find a solution to this problem which is slowly taking shape in our country.