Saturday, October 29, 2011

A little homesick

For the first time since being in Malawi, I have felt the pangs of homesickness.  And, it sucks.  homesickness just makes you feel sad, even if you are so happy with where you are.  I think it is due to a few factors:

  1. sean visited, and he went home last monday morning.  and, I miss him. 
  2. despite the fact that i am enjoying not cooking for myself, i am missing things like Big Ass Salads. and grapefruit. and smoothies.  and greek yogurt.  and things that are not deep fried.
  3. i am feeling like i am getting a rice gut.  and, i am getting some exercise (running 3x a week, swim 1x a week, and am starting to do yoga on the other days), but, it is just not the same.  I really really miss my bike.  riding on the back of a bicycle taxi is just not the same.
  4. i struggle with the balance of wanting people contact, but not wanting to spend all my time with ex-pats, and also not having found solid malawian friends yet.  i miss my friends.  
  5. my school work has been on a stall recently.  and, it is about to pick up again, but, this 'transition time' has been slow, and actually somewhat annoying, because i have been bored.
  6. it is REALLY hot here right now, which makes it difficult to sleep. and function.
I have just over 7 weeks left here in Malawi.  and, it is a two sided coin.  I miss home, and I will be very happy and ready to go and see the people i love. 

but, as the boy experienced when he was here, I will be exceptionally sad to leave.  There was one point when we were lying on our mattresses on the Ilala ferry, and i just started crying a bit, because i love being here so much, and it saddens me to have to leave.  ANDDDD..... just as a note, you can check out my roweramo's photostream on Flickr.

when i was talking to the boy the other day on skype, he was telling me how difficult it is to put into words what his experience was.  he told me that it is difficult to choose what to tell people, because it never gives the full picture.  he could tell people of the ferry, or the night that a rich south african wined and dined us on his catamaran, or of our couple hours at Warm Heart Missions land plot, or the our Liwonde boat safari.  

and, every time I sit down to write on this blog, that is exactly what I experience.  And, I know that when I get back home, it will be even harder to explain it.  unfortunently, what happens is that it makes me not even want to try.  

but, that is not fair.  it is not fair to the people who love me, or to myself, or to the experiences i have had and people I have met while here in Malawi.  

Today, when I was out for a walk at lunch, I got annoyed.  Partially due to the fact that i am feeling lonely, but, i think it just caused me to have a bit of a short string for my tolerance of different cultural things that happen here, and the "expectations" that come when you are a visitor (and white) in a globally south country...  

one of the things i struggle the most with is that I am a feeler, and a carer, and a giver.  I want to be able to help people.  and, there are just unending needs here.  

there is this woman, who obviously needs medical care, and her brothers (our guides from Mulanje) who can't pay for school (or transport to the hospital, or food once they get to the hospital, and they sleep on the ground while this lady is in the ward) because they have no job other than the occasional guiding trip up the massif.  

there is an artist, who wants to sell his work but it is hard to do so;  he also has been accepted for a film festival in South africa, but cant afford the 14$ to send a DVD of his work... so, he asks if i can a) bring his paintings to canada to send to his sister in law in halifax, so she can sell them and b) if i can pay for the DVD to get to RSA.

there are the teachers who want to have higher education, but don't know how what the steps are in applying for foreign education.  

And, i want to help.  so badly.  but, i don't know the answer to these questions, because i know the solution is not just in dolling out funds.  and it is tiresome to be asked almost every day for things like that.  It makes me not want to give my email or telephone number out, because i don't want to say no.  but, i don't want to be rude.  because, when push comes to shove... i can help. even though I am a student... even though I feel like I am broke all the time...  i will always have more $ than a malawian.  

 Being in Malawi is not easy.  Africa is probably one of the hardest places to travel to.  But, there is something about it, which once you experience it, it tugs on your heart.  I have always told people to "be careful" when they travel here.  Because it is not that it is dangerous.  It is not that something bad will happen.  But, they will find that they will go home, and they can't get it off their mind.  And, they will find that they just want to come back time and time again.  and, i think the reason is... well... because despite all the need and the occasional annoyances and the heat and the things that we miss... well...

there is so much beauty.

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