On this continent …
Time flies. It’s been 63 days since I left Canada for this incredible Journey. I flew from Toronto – Ottawa – London – Addis Ababa – Lilongwe. In 3 days time I will be on a flight from Lilongwe to Paris, and 4 days after on a flight from Paris to Toronto.
A lot has changed. I’ve changed. I think my perspective of the world has increased drastically, and I have learned a great deal about the world, honed some pretty great job skills, and am a much more mature self!
Some days were tough. Some days I called home in a fit and asked my family “how am I supposed to do this for XX more weeks?!” I was homesick. I missed the ease and comfort of the Canadian lifestyle relative to living here. I was tired of being looked at as if on display at a museum. The work wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The days were short, meaning not much daylight – I think I had the winter blues! Lilongwe is a city that makes you feel trapped. I could go on and on and on with this list. But I won’t. Rather, I want to share what I learned, how I grew and what I will take away from this amazing journey.
I’ve learned about print journalism, photography, improved my writing, improved my marketing skills, to deal with different and sometimes difficult people, I am not as independent a person as I once thought. I learned to relax and go with the flow – I can’t control everything. I learned more about communications and development. I learned that I am a social being and need frequent stimulus. I learned to take off my rose-colored glasses and see the world for what it is (at the risk of sounding jaded!). I learned that not everything is always going to work out as planned, and you can only roll with it. I learned that there are dangers and there is dark in this world. I learned that I am nothing without the people in my life. I learned that the world is not big enough for me – I want to see everything and go everywhere, and I’m pretty sure that this won’t be enough to quench my thirst for adventure.
I loved walking the 4.5kms to and from work, running on weekend mornings, reading 12 (and counting!) books, boiling water every morning to drink, negotiating prices for everything with everyone, learning a new culture and new language (I’m pretty deplorable at Chichewa, I’m not going to lie. At least I tried), seeing new parts of the world, seeing beautiful African animals, hiking a mountain, exploring, learning, traveling, working, living, and growing. I feel like I accomplished so much in my short time here.
I spent my last excursion in Malawi where I also spent my first: Safari Beach Lodge on Senga Bay, Lake Malawi. We stayed in Gazebo 11 just like last time. I no longer stared in wonder at everything or took 1,000 pictures. It was the vast difference in my attitude here compared to the last time I came that made me realized how much had changed in the past few months – how much I had changed.
I also had a very sudden realization about Africa.
We were frantically woken at 7am Wednesday because the cabins two and three doors down were on fire and there was a risk it would spread to ours. Some Chinese guy left his cigarette or a mosquito coil by the curtains and it lit on fire. (He was nowhere to be found! Apparently he left at 6 am for the Dedza district to see their pottery.)
Everyone was fine; the fire didn’t spread any further. At breakfast a giant baboon came charging to our table, stole our food, bared his teeth and threatened me when I jumped up in surprise and ran off. He was less than a foot away from me. What the hell.
I looked at Noreen with this grave and serious face (according to her) and said so faintly yet strongly, “this continent was not made for people”.
Noreen said that things happen in 3’s….. so we waited!
We got back home, and prepared for the night and learned that construction workers had accidentally cut the fiber optics that supplied Malawi’s Internet. Yup! Number 3 is that the entire country was lacking Internet. The problem was resolved that evening, thankfully.
It was an eventful day, and in that day I realized just how much had changed. Now I am preparing for my travels to Paris, and onward to Canada! See you in a week Canada!
 I mean this in the sense that it is a dangerous and wild continent, no matter how much humanity tries to tame it, the wild wins.