This week I've been wishing I could have been the passenger for all of my car trips to ensure I captured classic Malawi moments. Some include:
- the catch of the day hanging off someone's side mirror
- the older guy who travels with his push bike loaded up each morning wearing what looks like a crocodile skin akubra
- the 2 mules walking down the middle of well to do suburbia that I almost ran over
- my bicycle taxi experience
At work I wished I'd pulled out my camera sooner to catch the smiles of the cerebral palsy kids who weren't afraid of the azungu (white person). Or the look on the face of our clients who are walking with a prosthetic for the first time. Or the look on my face when I get asked to be involved with the management of gait training for someone using a prosthetic for the first time. Camera permanently attached to me may need to occur!
In a society where things move at a snail pace (except for those driving who need to get everywhere in a hurry with no requirement for road rules but once they get to their destination things can take a life time), it allows you to take time and assess.
This week I attended a lecture on Ebola and what processes need to be potentially put in place should it ever reach Malawi (touch wood it never does). Resources are so limited but the enthusiasm of the staff and the verbal commitment they essentially made was empowering.
I heard of the Sydney issue this week where one crazy individual held many innocent people hostage in a chocolate shop. That in itself is a crime! What rang true for me was that regardless of where we live there will be and continue to be more cultures, races, religions of which we can all learn from and embrace to create a diverse society. What a situation like the issue in Sydney does is highlight the need for more education, involvement and understanding with in our changing society wherever we live! This man's actions don't define a race, religion, culture etc but rather determines this man's need for help.
Whilst not the same context, here in Malawi and in my role at our clinic, I feel it is our need to ensure that education, involvement and understanding of those with a disability in a country like Malawi where the disabled are shunned, is so important. This can simply begin with a hello, an interaction, a handshake. Showing to the wider community that acceptance of those who are different is a step in the direction of equality. A road that still needs to be travelled. It is but a drop in the ocean but if each individual can start small imagine the impact. Dream big!