My best friend in Africa. James Chipoka.
Well I have landed in Malawi now for 6 months. Took off in a frantic rush bound for Malawi in a whimsical 2 year plan in December 2013. I knew I wanted to go but I had no idea how I was going to do it. It came together like an avalanche in the snowy mountains of Canada. Big , quite and full of force. I equate it to jumping out of an an airplane without a parachute and hoping for some place soft to land.
The Plot thickens !
I had friends to catch me. My best friend James Chipoka (whom I have know since 2007 ) and Annie Chisale (who I met in 2012). They made the landing softer and easier to handle. And yes it is a scarey thing to do. Landing in December/January aka the rainy season till late March , means just that . Rain and lots of it. Drops the size of marbles. Think big marbles and you get the idea. The sand and top soil here is red so when it rains it does look like rivers of blood . Literally
. And if you are in the rain for more than 15 seconds you will be drenched. Thunder and lightning shows are extremely powerful. Almost scary really. And I like storms. Here you can see one brewing in the background and yes it did pour. You can see the rain sweeping across the horizon towards you at an incredible rate. Then you run like crazy !!
A board game that goes by many names .
Since I can’t legally work I do stuff when I want and for whom I want . So it leaves lots of free time. Well not really. Yet in that free time I like to play a game called Bao. It is an easy enough game to learn though it seems too simple sometimes. I won’t go through it here but I will tell you that it is fun.
One of the challenges here is . . . believe it or not . . . discrimination. When I go shopping in the open market ( a market that is like a giant flea or used market – for that is what it truly is) , because of my skin , I will often get a “stupid or Mzungu” price. Makes me a little more than angry sometimes. I am use to equality and treating people as equals. So when discrimination happens to me I sometimes get a little bent out of shape. Yet I understand it as well. They see us as the color of money. Oh well. Education and tolerance. Now I will make updates more often as well here – if anyone is listening. If not it is a nice open journal. Cheers everyone !
I have so much to do , people to see and so little time my life feels very compressed.
Ticket is bought – Check
Passport still good – Check
Money . . . don’t want to talk about it.
People to see in Malawi – LOTS !
Deep fried Non GMO corn bread. Not exactly a healthy snack but once in a while – yummy.
A family of shoes walking up the wall in Mzuzu Malawi
Well I obviously didn’t make my time goal and it wasn’t set in stone. This year has been a struggle with work and times have been quite tough really. BUT some breaks lately have enabled me to put a timeline on my departure – by end of this year departing before December 29th 2013 UNLESS I am on a show making some good money _ but then right after the show finishes.
Am I crazy ? Possibly . With local Malawian inflation at a staggering 34% I might well be crazy. And yet it just seems like it is “something “that I need to do to keep my sanity (if I have any ) intact. I would rather do it than be laying on my death bed going ” . . .I wish I had done that . . .”
When it happens , you know it is time to do something radical. So I am going to try radical – going to move to Africa for a while and see how it goes. Really I am !All I need is one part of a bit of good work, one part get rid of all this stuff and one part pure determination. I was actually planning on March as the earliest and June at the latest. We shall see what happens I guess – won’t we.
Life is full of it here , that is one of the things that I have noticed here. I think that you could successfully furnish and entire house including an entertainment system with all the stuff that we throw out. And we only do cause we need to buy more stuff. We have to keep the engine going so to speak. And yet it makes me thing that we are stoking the wrong engine. We seem to be in such a push, a rush to accumulate more stuff even if the old stuff is perfectly fine. I understand the why I just can’t agree that it is the right thing to do. If we could have the mind set that “Hey I’ll give you $20 NOT to chop down that tree over there” and you get a hundred people saying that now you are making a living. We have to start treating the earth as it is, as a commodity unto itself. Point in fact In 2007 Malawi had 80% of its natural forest standing. In 2012 it has only 20% left. And that is going fast as well. We need a solution cause the problem is getting so big we may not be able to manage it.
Ok I have been back for a month now and I am still trying to figure out life. It is all changing so fast that I don’t know where I stand sometimes. Work is slow but good, same as going through all this footage, slow but good. LOADS to do and many people to think about and thank. Will be a little more active here now ….pics and videos on the way…
A very special thanks to Seeds for Malawi (Susan Evans and her compatriots) and African AIDS Angels (Mary Bomford and her group) for the generous donation. It is more than appreciated and I am humbled by your generosity. Thank you, thank you, thank you… And to all that have donated and that will donate , thank you for your thoughts and encouragement.
Imagine going to the gas pump and paying $4.00 liter or $15.16 gallon (US). Now imagine earning only $800 a year. Crazy isn’t it. Now add on to all of that , you have to wait in a line for two days! Welcome to Malawi. So it looks like (thanks for the Suggestion Mary Bomford!) , I just might be biking most of Malawi! It will make it an interesting journey , no multi-speed bikes to be had so it is going to be brute strength and a trailer I think. Time will tell so we shall see what happens. 35 more sleeps and I’m gone.
(L-R) Edward , Chance Gertrude and Finitie
This is one of those times in life where I am truly impressed. Chance has really taken the ball (so to speak) and run with it. I will be spending 3 short months in Africa and it appears that …it might not be enough time. Time goes too quickly sometimes and with the amount of work and effort that goes into a trip , I think that it will all disappear too fast. But ….I will soon find out. Here is a picture that Chance recently sent me from a camera I sent him. It has been a steep learning curve for Chance who has been working on discovering the potentials and complexities of the laptop I sent over to him. It hasn’t been easy but he has been learning little by little. Sometimes I wonder if it is a good thing or not. We have so much in our lives that clutter our days that they seem to take the joy out of the life we should have. The more you have, the more you worry, seems to hold true. Or you have so much “stuff” you have to hire people to look after it for you. Which means that you still won’t enjoy “it” as much as you should have, because you have too many things dividing your attention.
Oh well glad that I don’t have that to worry about!…
Did you know that once Airline tickets are purchased they are non-refundable? I didn’t, even though I don’t leave for another 6 months. So yes, the project is a go (did you have any doubts) and now my biggest challenge is luggage. The limits and restrictions are mind boggling to co-ordinate from one carrier to another. Carry on luggage is NOT standardized at all! Nor are the weight limitations. One carrier will allow two bags while the next will only allow one – it’s crazy. Charging for food , extra bag (or sometimes even checking in single a bag) and the list goes on.
So I leave …April 1st,2012. No really I do….No look I have the ticket right here…….ARG!