Saturday, October 21, 2006

One Year Gone By

It's amazing to think that a year has passed since I first flew into this country.  It honestly doesn't feel like its been that long since I first stepped off the plane.  I remember when I first heard that I was coming to Malawi how I had absolutely no idea where this country was.  And now I find out Madonna the "pop icon" came here to adopt a child from an orphanage and its all over the news and now everybody whos watched tv or listened to the radio knows about this place...
Its interesting thinking about the things that people pay attention to. 
They say that the one year mark is a time when there exist particular mental struggles in dealing with, living in, and understanding another culture.  I think I'm definitely going through the normal doubts and struggles at this point.  I think I experienced a classic case of depression in that I laid down on my futon and didn't want to move for about an hour....kinda scary now that I think about it.  I suppose I question how much good I'm really doing being here and teaching....  A profession by which I haven't recieve any true formal training in, but then again we've been asked to help in a country where there simply aren't enough people with the minimum qualifications to the meet the needs for teachers.  I guess I find it ironic in that people complain that there are "too many" people whereever they are, but not enough people with the ability or the desire to do the jobs that need to be done.  Theres that parable about the harvest is plenty and the workers are few related to spreading the gospel....i think it may be simply applicable to everything that people do.  I guess I've notice even though that there may be large cultural difference between groups of people but the underlying drive and actions of people are pretty much the same.....people are people....however you may want to understand that statement.
Its about that time of the year where its getting really hot.  In the district that I'm in the elevation is lower than most other parts of the country except the lower shire region (which one Malawian described to me literally as hell on earth).  Basically right now I sleep naked because my underwear sticks to me from the sweat because of the heat.  But then all that means is that my sheets stick to me instead....  Oh well what can you do.  It really isn't all that bad though because you simple get used to it.  I suppose back in the states we constantly move in and out of climate controlled environments so the differential between the two temperature extremes make it seem that much worse when in all reality "it ain't that bad yo". 
They have a great traditional dance that they have in the northern region of Malawi and southern parts of Tanzania from what I understand called Mwalipenga.  It's probably the best cultural experience in what I've seen in this country for me.  It's basically a group of dancers that come out and dance in unison to a beat driven by a drummer in concert with a group of guys blowing into some hollowed out shell (which I still haven't figured out where they find).  They'll dance either with spears or those shells themselves and people surround these groups which go in and out of the circle to battle as they might say in the u.s.  I'll have to get some footage of it when they start dancing again this time next year. 
I'm getting ready for summer school....I'm in charge of organizing several different aspects of it and being bursar as mentioned before....Just wondering did anyone donate??  I guess pscychologically its nice to know that people from where I'm from support things I work on even if its with just a few dollars...If not just another reason to feel sad I suppose.
I'll be visiting home very soon during Christmas time... It'll nice to see some folks and most definitely my family. 

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