From Africa to Val Müstair
With luck and ambition in life
Dennis grew up in a large Zambian family. And large in his case means: a father with four wives and 30 siblings. As one of the few, Dennis is lucky and gets the opportunity for a school education. In order to finance this, however, he has to keep his head above water with part-time jobs from a young age. With a lot of ambition and will, he works his way up from level to level, all the way to a correspondence course. The perseverance pays off - Dennis makes it from farm work to a small but fine African lodge, right on Lake Kariba.
Bainvgnü in Switzerland
What luck for Dennis, because it is precisely in this lodge that he meets and falls in love with his Stephanie. But the physical distance is great. It is therefore not surprising that Dennis soon takes the long journey to Switzerland. Then, on the Ofen Pass, an unforgettable moment - Dennis holds snow in his hands for the first time. It seems almost like a small miracle and makes him forget the cold Swiss temperatures for a short time. He is also impressed by the foreign nature, the Rhaeto-Romanic language and the Müstair way of life. This first visit is soon followed by the Zambian wedding, the definitive move to Switzerland and their daughter Natasha.
In the midst of specialities
As soon as he arrived in Switzerland, Dennis wanted to get back on his feet professionally. After only a short time, he is able to work in the room maintenance department of a local hotel. Later he changes to his current employer, the village bakery Meier-beck. It is known for its fine specialities and brings Dennis a little closer to local delicacies. Today Dennis himself works in the kitchen and puts his heart and soul into the production of the golden pastry «Schaibiettas» and the delicious chestnut cake in a jar.
Passion on the alphorn
When his senior boss, Meinrad Meier, gives him a trial lesson for his birthday, Dennis has no idea what the natural horn is all about. But he quickly finds joy in the Swiss instrument «alphorn». Dennis puts up with countless rehearsals - in the rehearsal room, at home and even in the great outdoors - for this beautiful sound. But how beautiful would it sound if several alphorns played together? Meinrad asked himself the same question and founded the alphorn group «ils infernals», which means «the crazy ones». The four of them now play many gigs and concerts and travel all over Switzerland to do so.
A new home in Müstair
Dennis quickly feels at home in Val Müstair. Thanks to his second passion, playing football, he quickly made friends and even became part of the local club. No wonder, his favourite place in the valley is there. But Dennis also pursues duties such as the fire brigade. Only in winter sports is he still a little shaky on his feet. He has put cross-country skiing on ice at the moment. Skiing and skating, on the other hand, are already going well.
A piece of Zambia in the heart and garden
Dennis is very happy in the Grisons valley, but he will certainly never forget his roots in Zambia. Together with his wife and daughter, he therefore travels back regularly to visit family and friends. And a little bit of Zambia can also be found in the garden at home, namely in the form of the spinach-like, African vegetable «Rape». Yes, they are two worlds, but probably no one connects them as wonderfully as Dennis Ulayayi.