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Meet George, the longest-serving employee at the Royal Norwegian Embassy

Last updated: 09.11.2015 // At the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe, there is a total of nine diplomatic staff from Norway. However, there are even more local staff! All together fifteen Malawians work at the Embassy in a variety of positions. Some are programme officers; others work in the visa section or as financial advisors.

Picture 1: George puts up the Norwegian flag on the Embassy car. The flag is always there when he drives the Ambassador.

Picture 2: At events with many distinguished guests, there are also many drivers. Here, George and other drivers rest after a three hours drive from Lilongwe. This is from the Launch of the Inclusive Education in Malawi project in Mzimba South on the 29th of October this year.

The one with the longest experience at the Embassy is George Shani. George is a humble and friendly colleague who has worked at the Embassy for longer than anyone else. He is from Mphimbi village in Traditional Authority Mponela, about an hour north of Lilongwe. In the 1980s, he moved to Lilongwe to find work. After working as a driver for the French Embassy for some years, he joined the Norwegian Embassy in 1998.

George now lives in Lilongwe together with his wife. They have four children between the ages of 12 and 25. While he lives in Lilongwe, he remains close with this family in Mphimbi village. “I visit my relatives, including my brother, about once a month”, he says.

As a very experienced driver, George knows the roads of Malawi better than most. Half of the year, driving is fairly easy, but becomes very challenging during the rainy season, for example when he visited flood affected areas in Chikwawa with the Ambassador in January.

The longest drive, he says, was one to Harare in Zimbabwe with the Ambassador earlier this year. “Some of my favourite experience, however, were the visits of the Crown Princess Mette-Marit in 2005 and that of Prime Minister Erna Solberg last year”, George says. While the Crown Princess and the Prime Minister were, as is standard procedure, driven by government drivers, he took part in the long motorcade to Salima and Dedza respectively.

The key to being a good driver, George says, is careful planning. Also, naturally, to do a thorough check of the car beforehand.

When George joined the Embassy in 1998, there were about six employees in total. Since then, the number of employees multiplied. For a total of 17 years, and still counting, George ensures consistency at the office!

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