It started as a plan for a small Christmas event for Chomora Mikeka, James and Yvonne Kenani, and my family. But we thought that it was going to be better if we had floated the idea to our friends within the Society of Malawian Students (SMS) in Japan. Someone also suggested that we inform the Malawi Embassy so that they should not be taken by surprise.
Malawian students outside the Kanto area were asked if they would be able to attend the party. The SMS wing in Oita which includes two undergraduate students, Yankho Fungatira and Lester Kakhuta, and two postgraduate students, Hastings Nasoni and Rabson Kachala, unanimously agreed to come to Tokyo for the party. Kondwani Munthali from Tsukuba University also confirmed his availability. Then the issue became much bigger than we had planned initially. We had to book two nights accommodation for the guys coming from Oita in Bandobashi, Yokohama. We also booked the venue for the event in Akasaka, Tokyo.
The Embassy was also notified about the impending Malawian style Christmas party. The ambassador, His Excellency, Mr. Roosevelt Gondwe, and the staff at the embassy were more than happy with the initiative. They promised to contribute financially and even to bring some dishes. Our trusted treasurer, James Kenani, prepared the budget.All participating SMS members, the ambassador and the staff at the embassy, i.e. Mr Chilima and Mrs Karonga, made their contributions. We bought the meats, drinks, snacks etc. We also paid for the venue, transportation and accommodation of the guys from Oita.
Then finally came the day of the party on 24 December. We were supposed to visit the Tokyo Tower in the morning but we cancelled the event because most people did not come in time. We, therefore, focussed on the party itself. We started cooking at 1:00pm and finished before 3:00pm.
The Ambassador arrived with his wife and children arrived at the end of the cooking session. Mr.Chilima, Mrs Karonga and her son, Charles, and a Japanese couple (Masanari-san and Nozomi-san), friends to James and Yvonne Kenani, also arrived shortly after that.
I was the MC for the day. The program started at 3:00pm . We observed a one-minute silence in memory of the people that lost their lives in the Karonga earthquakes, and Mr. Hamiltom Chimberenga, a Malawian student who passed away last month in Malaysia. Then Chomora, in his Coordinator of SMS in Japan, made brief introductions of all the participants. Then the Ambassador made his speech and the eating, drinking and chatting begun.
Toward the end of the event, Chomora presented a certificate award to the Ambassador for the support he gave in the formation of the Society of Malawian Students in Japan. All participants were given SMS in Japan pens.
The party finished at 6:00pm. After cleaning the place, Mr. Chilima took a few guys for a nijikai (second party) in Roppongi.