I love watching the Gule Wamkulu dance in villages. Their masks and clothing are so creative. Their mystery and secrecy is intriguing to me and in my early trips, actually frightened me. I was originally told to leave a village if they ever showed up.
As with many fears, when I choose to learn about these fears, to find ways to understand them, the less I fear them. Facing fears can seem daunting, but not facing them can be debilitating. When I shared my fear with my Malawian friend, he grinned. I think he was initially thinking of ways he could really frighten me. He vowed to help me understand them and their purpose in the village culture.
Most of my visits include an experience with the Gule Wamkulu, all of which have been very positive.
In one village as my team and I were watching the performance, my new sweet friends just wanted to scroll through the photos on my phone. They also learned to take our selfies to add to my collection.
Learning to overcome fears can be so rewarding.