Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Calm...

if this post works, I will be *thrilled.*  my internet is SO touch and go these days.  skype cuts in and out.  webpages just don't load. even at the college the other day, it took about 3 hours for one episode of "bones" to download.  i can't read any facebook notifications or messages, they just don't load (gasp.  what in the world am I going to do!??!  ha!)  emails may or may not load.  siiiiigh.  and, yet... I try.  I try to connect to the internet, even when the internet gods are telling me to cease and desist.   oh well.

I am over my tizzy from last week.  And, I am SO glad about that.  The calm, the joy, the wonders of being here in Malawi have returned from lacking last week.  my grouchiness has past, and most days I am walking around with a little jump in my step again.

except... I am sick.  I feel a little silly, because I am such a typical "muzungu" and, I automatically expect malaria.  "its malaria!" I say.  but, my signs and symptoms are so non-specific.... nausea, diarrhoea, malaise, headache, achey muscles, sore throat (that is definitely not common with Malaria).  "its not malaria.  don't make silly presumptions!" I say.  but, when you take anti-malarial prophylaxis, your signs and symptoms could be suppressed. "it's malaria!" I say.  but, i have a sore throat. "it's not malaria.  people with malaria don't get sore throats.  and, they have a fever more often than not."

so. maybe i have malaria and am going to die.  or, maybe i have a cold and I need to sleep more.

anyway, i was walking down the street the other day, and I was a little sad.  I pretty much only have 6 weeks left here.  and, there is a sadness that comes with leaving africa for me.  Mostly because i know it is so dang far away from home... in the physical distance, and in the technological distance, and in the cultural distance, and in the emotional distance.  I have always warned people... be careful in traveling to Africa.  it gets under your nails.  it seeps into your blood.  and, you can never be the same.  you can never fully get away.

the fellow last week, who asked me for money to pay his kids school fees is an artist.  I have some paintings of his that I will be bringing back to North America, that will hopefully be sold via one of his contacts in Halifax, and through facebook.  I am going to post them here on this blog, and... please, if you want one, let me know.  I will tell you how to get money to me for the painting, and I will deliver it to you once I get back.  as well, unless you know you will be seeing me and want me to hold onto it for a time until you can get it, you will have to pay for shipping, from Vancouver or Montreal or Tacoma, WA.  I would like to get him some money before I leave, it is just easier for logistics.  One of the big things about paintings being sold in Malawi, is that you don't ever really know for sure if the guy selling them is actually the artist.  most often, he is not.  but, this guy is a died in the wool artist.  He loves painting.  he loves creating. he is so genuine. 

Africa, and Malawi, is a continent that walks.  In Canada, we have rush hour with cars.  that exists here too, but, mostly, it is walking.  Every morning, and every evening at around 4:30-6, there are SWARMS of people walking down the street. Cars drive down the middle of the road, because down the sides, there are hundreds of people walking.  There are more people here walking at 6am then I have EVER seen in north america.  In North America, you wake up early in the morning to go for a run, and have solitude.  to feel like you are alone in the world.  not here.  and, what is amazing about it, is that people say hello... you can't expect to walk down the street without someone (most often strangers, and always when you see people you know) greeting you.  when was the last time that happened in Vancouver or Montreal or Edmonton?

today, i saw an elephant that was 1.5 meters tall and learning how to walk.   it was SO cute, you can't even imagine.  (ok.  so, baby bears are pretty darn cute too.)

in the hospital, when someone passes away, they get covered in a traditional fabric and brought to the mortuary.  when that person, is wheeled down the hallway... there is a "parade" of people following it. dozens of people are there supporting the family.  they are singing, they are grieving, they are comforting one another.  when this parade of people are walking down the hallway mourning, every person will stop what they are doing when they pass, stand up if they are sitting, and honour the deceased.  When someone dies in Canada, well, let's just say that there are not dozens of people at the hospital when they pass away.

the seasons are changing here.  it has been awfully hot here the last few weeks (in the region of about 36-40 degrees during the day).  but, the other night was the first night that it rained.  a couple weeks ago, there was a rain... but, not one that signaled the changing of the seasons.  and, you can already see the green coming out.  i went to a talk the other night, by one of the doctors who has established a lot of the work at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, about his bike ride across the length of britian with the hike to the tallest point in britian.  The talk was hilarious.  what was also hilarious, was seeing 40+ white guys (mostly ex-pats at this evening affair) freezing when the temperatures it about 22 degrees celcius.  I am *so* screwed when I go back to Vancouver (and... um... Montreal!) at Christmas!

i guess that is it for now.

except that, with all of this... I am not saying that I am not going to enjoy being home.  I miss the boy.  I miss a diversity of food.  i miss training.  sometimes, i even miss the efficiency.

but, it is so hard to explain.  it is so hard to explain how my heart feels when I am here.  it is really hard to explain to people who have not been to a place like this. it is hard to explain the feeling, the cultural differences, the experiences.  and, so, in a way, I don't even try.  because, why bother?  it can't really be understood, unless it is experienced.

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

BE WELL and your openess and details are really heart wrenching!