Music might be global but every place in the world has its own unique melody.

In Africa, there’s a very special way of singing with leading calls, an echoing chorus, and a kind of rich, soul-warming harmony that brightens any mood.

Along with dancing and painting, singing is an important part of education at Save the Children’s HEART program. As I visited the villages in Zomba district of Malawi, I was welcomed in song again and again. As a traveler I was touched.

I also watched as children as young as three years old learned the alphabet, the numbers and the months of the year through creative songs and actions. Older children also learned through song, about good manners, and the importance of education.

Chichewa is the primary language of Malawi, and most of the children I met only speak Chichewa. In one of the villages, the children welcomed me with this particular song, welcoming me as a traveler to their home and asking that I feel at home.

This is a long and standard African tradition, but that fact makes it no less special when you are the subject of so much musical affection. I was so touched by their hospitality and no matter where I travel in the world, I can never forget this music and its warm message of welcome.