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Home Is Where The Heart Is

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Mr. Limbani Kumanga

“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller”
-Ibn Battuta
As I insinuated in my previous post, the entire 15-member CorpsAfrica Malawi team left for CorpsAfrica’s inaugural All Country Conference (ACC) in Morocco. We left Malawi on October 3 and returned on October 16. I am not here to give you a detailed account of our engagements during these 13 days that I spent away from my site. I am sure someone else will do that – probably with better eloquence and verbatim than I could. If you’re interested, see to it that you check this link, where blog entries from all CorpsAfrica volunteers from the three countries (Malawi, Senegal, and Morocco) are posted. Otherwise, from my experience, this trip befits being labeled as an ‘experience of a lifetime.’
Anyway, today I have decided to focus on telling you a few things that I dearly missed while I was away. Sometimes, detachment is what makes you appreciate the value of seemingly banal things that happen in your comfort zone. It is through detachment that you learn to differentiate the things that you need and want in this volatile game called ‘life.’ Calm down now, I am no sage so I will keep it cool and simple, as usual, and miss you with this philosophical gibberish.

My radio: I bought this radio on March 23 at a giveaway price from a Pakistani shop owner in Limbe and it has become one of my prized possessions since then. Through this radio, which was made in China, I stay in touch with current affairs, especially on the local front, and in that way I always have something to say to community members – most who don’t own a radio and therefore have no penchant of listening to the radio. Actually, one concerning observation I have made is that community members that happen to listen to the radio, mostly men, exclusively listen to sports related programs. This way, they end up missing out on important information that has varying implications on their everyday lives as citizens of this country. As far as news reporting is concerned across various local radio stations, I derive high level merriment in contrasting the pro and anti government propaganda. It is amazing to see the extent that politicians can go in a desperate effort to goad their opponents. Not just politicians, but even some radio personalities have a knack of making incendiary and perfunctory remarks. I love it!

My not-so-comfortable bed: No, my bed is not uncomfortable. I would be doing a massive injustice to my lovely bed if I were to label it that. Obviously, while in Morocco, I slept on beds of superior comfortability than my own. I mean, not throughout the 13 days, but some. Comfort aside, I realized that I get better sleep on my 3/4 bed with a lean mattress. Initially, I had troubles getting used to the discomfort caused by the leanness of my mattress and I had a series of temptations to purchase a bigger mattress. But, over the time, I have inured myself to its discomfort and I don’t feel like changing anytime soon. Here is a secret: A more comfortable bed makes me lazy and oversleep, which would be catastrophic on my service. Anyway, I sleep with a peace of mind on my bed – an aspect that I missed dearly when I was away.

The people: Particularly, people that are participating in my projects. Wait a minute, this reminds me that I have not blogged  about a principle project that I am implementing in Likoswe village. I guess I should make this the subject of my next blog entry. Be on the lookout. I must admit beforehand that certain participants of my project give me a minor headache once in a while, but I guess that is expected when dealing with people. What’s more important is that I probably look at this issue from a bit of a sententious standpoint. Who knows, maybe while they give me a minor headache, I give them a massive bout of diarrhea? You never know. What is important though is that despite this who headache and diarrhea issue, we still manage to kick it together. We’ve come from a far and we continue to march on as a cohesive unit towards achieving our goals. Tell you what, there was an aura of mutual ecstasy upon my return and now we are ready to embark on the next phase of this project.

Overall, the trip to Morocco has boosted my energy level, which is important as I prepare to complete the remaining 3 months of my service with unscathed determination and grit. I feel recharged. The break that I took from my community and the experiences that I encountered while away have reverberated my zest to finish my service on a high notch. But most importantly, as per the theme of this piece, this trip gave me an opportunity to reflect and appreciate certain things that I have been taking for granted. Never again, for now. Shukran! Merci beaucoup!

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