Constantly throughout my time here I feel like I am from 2 different worlds. The contrast between what I have grown up with, what I as a Western person accept as 'normal' or 'appropriate' compared to this, in the scheme of things, small immersion into Malawian culture and the way of life here even for an expat.
I constantly question why I am here, what am I achieving, what selfishly am I getting out of this experience and is it normal on some days to crave the wine bar and cheese platters (I'm not an alcoholic!).
There are some days I sit in my 'big' office as the 'bwana' and realise that my life is so different from everyone around me both in this 'world' and at home. I often need to step away from the desk and interact and acknowledge to my staff and to our clients that I am just like them human and approachable. Connecting with them on any level rather than a white person in power is so very important for them and for me! Someone said to me recently regardless of our skin, our religion, our political preference we all have the same colored blood and we need to remember that. So very true. Breaking those barriers or perceptions is an interesting, challenging and never ending battle. Even within the expat community we have perceived ideas of Brits verse Americans compared to the South Africans and then us strange Aussies.
I then head to the lake where I am done with the backpacker scene but stay in a nice lodge over looking the lake with a sundowner and think this Malawi caper...not such a hard life after all. The children on the beach are much happier and interactive than the Lilongwe kids and is this just typical of beach life anywhere in the world. I feel that I should sometimes be having a more local experience and admire those that immerse themselves within a village and live the local life. So very challenging. Someone did however say to me that my experience here is so very different to my 'normal' life and creating that normality once in a while is ok. I think I've convinced myself that Cape Mac and its lodges is ok once a month :-)
Attached in this blog are some of the contrasts of the recent week. Cape Maclear, beach children and our gold star client who is back on the motorbike with his new arm. The other picture is of a Malwian saying that says we must be like chameleons with one eye observing the past and one eye on the future.