I was born in Blantyre, Malawi, a city, and a country with a lot of Scottish influence but my first memories were of Cumbernauld, Scotland, where I moved to as a toddler and where I spent most of my formative years. As a child I was always fascinated with nature, culture, history and stories, so Scotland seems to have been the ideal country for me to be raised in.
School trips were to places like the Antonine Wall, Haggs Castle, Aberdour Beach, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The Cumbernauld Library, where I got my first library card when I was 6 years old, was always one of my favourite places to visit and it started me off on my journey into the world of stories.
Growing up in Scotland with African parents meant that I always seemed to inhabit two cultures and learned early on about diversity and different ways of being in the world. That was put to the test when just before entering high school my family and I moved back to Malawi where I coincidentally attended a Scottish high school (St. Andrews International High School); every morning I saw the Scottish flag in the courtyard when I was driven to school. I’ll always be grateful for my English and History teacher, Mr. Lang, a Partick Thistle fan from Glasgow who was one of a few people who could understand my Glaswegian accent, and who assured me it was everyone else who had an accent, not me!
I moved to Canada soon after I graduated with my A-Levels and the Greater Vancouver area has been my home for 20 years now. I have a BA in Sociology and an MA in International and Intercultural Communication, programmes that helped me delve deeper into my own diverse upbringing and my interest in knowing more about the world and people in general. My fascination with stories and storytelling continues to this day and I often explore ways that it deepens understanding of the world and how it can help build connections.
I work in the communications field and do freelance writing in the areas of travel, culture, and book reviews. Although I haven’t lived in Scotland for many years Scotland will always be home and I still regularly visit.
“It is the time of the storyteller. It is the time when those who understand the value of story and practice the art of connection have an essential role to play.”- Christina Baldwin, Storycatcher
H.R. Mondiwa, MA