Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams is about a boy, Kondi, who decides one day to make a galimoto. A galimoto is a toy vehicle usually fashioned out of old wire; but it can also be fashioned out of sticks, cornstalks, and yams. A galimoto has moving parts and is a push toy, a toy moved with a long stick of some kind while the child is standing. In the story, Kondi opens a shoebox with all his possessions in it. Inside are some old wires he had been saving for something special, making a galimoto. He still does not have enough wires, so Kondi goes around his village and collects wire from various places to build his galimoto. When he gets all his materials, Kondi sits under a tree near his home and fashions the wires into a truck. A galimoto does not only have to be a car or truck; it can be a bicycle, airplane, or any other vehicle.

 

Galimoto (GAL-lee-moe-toe) is a Chichewa word for motorcar. The word galimoto came from the English word motor car. Chichewa interchange the sounds r and l and the c possibly can change with a g. Every syllable in Chichewa end in a vowel sound (Williams, 1990). Chichewa is the national language, along with English, in Malawi, Africa. So the story, Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams, takes place in Malawi. A small country in the southern part of Africa (http://aspen.com/abwenzi/p12.html & Williams, 1990).

Malawi is a small country found west of Mozambique, east of Zambia and south of Tanzania. Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa and thirteenth in the world, covers 20% of Malawi. Until 1964, Malawi was part of the Britain Emperor. Now they are a democracy with Dr. Bakili Mulusi as president (http://spicerack.sr.unh.edu/~llk/malawi/mwstart.html). Malawian describe themselves as "the friendliest people of Africa," most likely because their different tribes are at peace with each other. This is attributed to Dr. David Livingstone, a Scottish missionary, who came to Malawi in 1859. He encouraged the tribal chiefs to work together and end the slave trade (http://aspen.com/abwenzi/2a.html).

Malawi has a tropical/subtropical climate. The economy is mostly based on agriculture (70%) with 87% of the population living in rural areas. Their main crops are maize (corn), tobacco, tea, sugarcane, groundnuts, cotton, wheat, coffee, and rice. Only in recent years have the farmers started to grow cashew nuts and cassava as well (http://spicerack.sr.unh.edu/~llk/malawi/mwstart.html).

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