Before the British came, Malawi had been colonized -- if you can call it that -- by Arab slave traders who captured innocent souls and brought them north to a life of servitude. These traders also brought the religion of Islam and Mataka grew up in a village with a mosque, not a church.
It was a light-hearted kind of religion as practiced in Chembe village. The mullah was an old man with a white beard and he made the calls to prayer from a small mud-brick mosque, a very plain and humble building, and the call to prayer was natural in the early hour of first light before dawn, a natural call without use of loudspeaker.
And the night had been still and quiet because there were no dogs barking. There were no dogs in Chembe village -- they are unclean animals. Only goats and chickens were pecking in the debris around the huts.
Well, there is a lot more to this story, but it comes in small pieces.