Yohani means ‘John’. My name isn’t John, but for every English word there should be a Chechewa equivalent. However, I have often been the exception to the rule in my life. My name, Jason, does not exist in Chechewa - there in by leads to a dilemma. What should we call him? Answer: Yohani. Why? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter to me that it's not my name, but it does matter that I have been given a Malawian name, because to receive such a gift is to be accepted by my African family as a member. Adopted? - sure. Out of place? – completely. Still stumbling around trying to make sense of it all? – absolutely. Regardless, accepted and loved by his friends. There is nothing in the whole world that can compare to true Christian friendship. It is Christ in us, the one constant point of commonality that links us to each other regardless of age, distance, race, language, culture, or any other factor that should lead to distrust, frustration, and a desire to stay away, rather than come together.
It is wonderful to come early in the morning to work and be greeted by 'Yohani, mulibwangi?'
My name is Yohani. John, the beloved disciple shared the same name. I’m okay with that.