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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Living in a European Village

If you follow this blog, you might have realised that I really try hard to write about Malawi but through a series of events, I have been away from home for a while now. I have returned there for several months at a time but I haven't been a permanent resident at home for about 7 years, wow! It's been that long. Time flies whether or not we're having fun right?

Two things quickly, first with Malawi. Fellow citizens, we have WAY too many facebook groups, lol! I belong to several, I must confess. I like to think they are all practical but judging by the amount of time I spend on them....I think practicality has gone to the dogs. These are just social-networking tools which happen to have handy ideas on how members can improve their lives whether it be in the kitchen, how to invest, how to look and and how to be, in general, particularly in light of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. In between the handy ideas, a lot of intereeeeeeesting life stories. Yes, you are right, I need to cap the amount of time I spend in these black holes of social media. Rule of thumb: when you find yourself actively protecting yourself from being removed from a facebook group, spend more time outside! 

Second thing, it's been seven whole years! I have bumped around different cities and I'm glad to report that I have a new "home" where my better half and I can now take our traveling shoes off, breathe in and out and enjoy not having moving plans.

It's a village. Main difference between a Malawian village and a village most places in Western Europe? I'd say villagers in Malawi tend to spend a lot of time outdoors: farming, gardening, fishing, socialising, travelling, working, sometimes even schooling and of course, my favourite, basking in the sun. There are rumours that at night too, a number of villagers spend a lot of time outdoors..... Here, however,  it's too cold to do so many things outside on a regular basis.  So on the plus side, the house sizes are substantial in the village and shop/s and other amenities are within walking distance. However, the money-spinning people-grabbing entertainment spots like stadia, cinemas, malls tend to be closer to bigger villages and cities so one has to content themselves with either gravitating back to those regularly or finding other ways to live and be.  Here is where the "real" life pursuits have to come in: having time to go to the library, getting to know people outside of your circle of friends and family, growing new interests and hobbies and indeed, having enough time to face your giants.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Been a While

It has been a while, perhaps almost a year, since I blogged last. I usually felt like there was so much to write about and nothing to write about. The truth is, a lot has happened since last spring. For the first time in my life, I live in a village. It's a Dutch village and so it is very different from villages I know from Malawi. Nevertheless, there are some similarities:- although in this village all roads are paved, the internet is super speedy, there is a supermarket...even a car dealership. Houses are spacious, there are good schools, a wee harbour that is awesome, excellent infrastructure in general etc.: there is ALSO more stuff growing: orchards, vegetables and a lot of space for back gardens. The graveyard is visible (the only graveyards I remember from my most recent cities were near a church or in a church On the people side, I do notice that there are more older people I am likely to meet and get to know than in the cities I've lived in.

On a personal level, I have less to do AND more to do, at the same time. I'm still sifting through how I'm changing as a person now that I live here and how that will change my approach to this blog but hang tight, I see many a great posts ahead. Many topics to write about have gone through my mind but today, I've decided to settle on the joy and discovery of listenning to MBC Radio1 in the kitchen of my Dutch village home.

MBC Radio 1 was the lone, appoved local radio station in President Banda's Malawi. My family had a couple or so radios in our early days in Zomba. The radio that was kept on almost 24/7 was in the kitchen and it dutifully edutained and infotained us, filling in the gaps between conversations.  It added colour and texture to our days with it's various radio plays, news programmes, specials, magazine shows and scifi/thriller/whatchamacallit show (5 Moba!).  When democracy graced our shores in Malawi, more radios came and I for one lost interest in MBC radio 1. At first it was gradual and then before I knew it, I hardly even remembered it was there. I only became interested in finding out how to access Malawian media while in South Africa, it was hard for me because I was a mere student who couldn't afford the options of access and had to content myself with online media; mostly news sites ( I had dabbled with following a few sites in the US but that was when it was all very small private news sites and music stations having a presence online). 

You can imagine that I was taken back to my child, now, in F and I's kitchen, finding MBC Radio 1 again (don't get me wrong, I love all the other Malawian stations that are available online like Zodiak, Capital etc) BUT the fact that it has taken this long to get the "signal" of dear old radio 1, with its familiar sig-tunes, announcers....Looking out the window, it's a different time and place but I guess I needed this sort of grounding. Not putting one foot in the past and one in the present but a mere realisation that the world is changing, I am changing, time it speeding or slowing and yet, some things stay the same. Thank goodness for that. Happy New Year one and all!!

photo: www.uchaguzi.co.ke