Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I never thought that I would go to Malawi, not because of any reason in particular but mostly because I never really thought about Malawi all that much.

Only a two hour flight away, Malawi feels like it's really far from home. Both a complete outsider and yet still a fellow African, I attempted to juggle my amazement and embarrassment. It seems that in my life, I constantly oscillate between the two. 

I was amazed at its quiet-loud nothingness and it's vast compactness, a small-big country with opposites and questions and silence, lots of silence. I was embarrassed by my ignorance, the worst tourist with the worst questions, I smiled a lot and tried to not to think of Malawi in American "poor but happy" terms. It was hard, they are so poor and happy... Fuck. 

Our tour guide told me that in 1966 only six tourists visited Malawi. I wondered what they thought. I saw a women waiting (maybe she wasn't waiting) by a tree with no leaves, when we left the hotel a few hours later she was still there, waiting or not waiting, just standing in the same spot by a tree with no leaves. Time felt longer there. 

I tried to remember as much as possible, I tried not to sleep in the car, I tried to not think about other stuff. I didn't remember how to say "hello". I did sleep in the car, badly. And I thought a lot about other stuff. I was hard not to, it seems that life follows you wherever you go. 

Malawi is a really special country, I mean it. Maya Angelou said something along the lines of:

You don't remember what people said or did or whatever, you remember how they made you feel (not a direct quote obviously). 

Well that's like Malawi, it sneakily touches your heart and you don't how or when, you just kinda wish it well and want to send it a card a Christmas time.

The people that I met were at times so earnest that I felt bad. My favourite person that I met was the driver, Patrick. I really wanted to show him a picture of Patrick Star from Spongebob, I don't know why. I didn't, thankfully. But he was so great, so sweet and he laughed like I'd imagine a tortoise would laugh. 

Malawi is really great, just go and feel all warm inside. 

Me and Patrick:

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