Malawi has taught me so much. About myself, about my trip, about expectations and the gap they invariably leave. I will forever remember this country as the place where my soul finally fell into step with my intentions for this adventure. Where it learnt not to ask for too much, nor be blase about what it received.
Here are some of the other things my mind thought as I explored magical Malawi.
The nice thing about yoghurt is that it’s off already.
You realize your privilege when you send your mountain guide a WhatsApp voice note because you’re too lazy to type and it depletes his entire month’s budget for data.
(You also realise it when you offer him mosquito repellent and he hasn’t ever heard of the concept.)
Those in the know take slow and small steps up the mountain, not large and bold leaps.
(They are at one with their terrain, not trying to be the boss of it. )
Here’s a thought: just let the guide be the guide.
Why doesn’t the mountain beetle keep office hours? Surely, he realizes that there’s stuff to do and not enough time to do it in?
I don’t think the concept of “uncool” (and by extraction, “cool”) exists in many African cultures.
There is funny (hilarious) and weird (unfamiliar) but there doesn’t seem to exist the concept of funny (weird) nor it’s extreme cousin, uncool. Maybe that’s because, among themselves, rejection doesn’t exist either.
When climbing a mountain there’s lots of air but not many graces.
(Which is as it should be.)
In some climes, the more used pathway is also the most slippery.
Water and gravity really bring out the best in each other.
(But don’t cross or underestimate either or both of them. Or mistake their beautiful co-existence for gentleness.)
When you’re starting to get really unsure whether you’re on the right road, just pray to see an oncoming taxi.
(That means that there’s life ahead.)
When a two-track road becomes a one-track path and a herd of goats are on it heading your way, best you rethink your route.
(And not just because of the goats.)
The sun is a miracle.
Nobody likes an overdone photograph.
Warm cheese never recovers.
You can get away with washing things—and yourself—far less than you thought.
(But hold my hair back while I get sick for the fifth time today, strange…)
Whatever situation you’re in, always know it’s First Rule.
(The first rule of camp set-up is to choose shade over view. I think.)
My shit hot kit makes me king of jack shit.
I’m sure it will be fine — not a winning meme.
It’ll definitely still be on in the morning.
(The electricity. And no it won’t… )