Monday, June 29, 2009

after effects less than two months later

One night I dreamt that I was part of a street scene. Some people seemed either short or shaped different. Upon waking up I realized the short and misshapen people were those who had club feet, flipper arms, and one walked with his bottom on the ground with sneakers cut to fit into his hands. You don't see that kind of scene here in the States with correctable surgery and vaccinations such as polio. The misshapen people I've seen in Malawi were not limited to the poor.

Hygiene is heavily emphasized, especially with risk of cholera. Waiters or servers in any restaurant would come to your table with a pitcher of water and a basin for you to wash your hands. Or, there's a complimentary water jug with soap at the entrance. However in fast food places like the Hungry Lion, a dingy looking sink is screwed into a wall. Least there's running water and soap handy. In more fashionable chains such as Nando's - there's a pretty sink set-up in a nook. Back in the States, I was in a restaurant last Thursday with a friend and we spotted a small bottle of Purell on our table, next to the napkin dispenser. I thought, how nice, not need to get up and go to the toilet to wash hands.

Madonna has Mercy now. Finally. With so many poor people already taking care of relatives, it's unfathomable for someone to come and adopt a child from already overflowing orphanages. Most of the children are already sick from HIV or other communicable diseases. Many orphaned children prefer living on the streets than in orphanages and I can't say I blame them because some orphanages can't take care of every child.

Monday, June 08, 2009

a month and few days after the return

I have more or less adjusted to life back in the US. The excessive materialism (and I'm guilty, too having been sucked into H&M today - but hey I did need new shirts) still bothers me. The very available stacks of toilet papers and paper napkins are still beyond me. Before Malawi, I used loads of napkins to wipe my mouth or hands when eating or drinking, terribly conscious of any mess I might make. After Malawi, I use one napkin or not at all. A couple weeks after return to the US, I was prompted to use a napkin - probably because I was licking my lips and fingers clean. I don't use tissues much as I used to. If I have sniffles I would suck it in or ignore it altogether.

So far, especially in allergy season and having hay fever, I've not been sick other than typical morning sniffles. At all.

I discovered something during my stay in DC in the last few days - I can't do buffet style meals anymore. My stomach goes out of whack and I'm in and out of the toilet the next few hours, sometimes with a ring o' fire or two. Also, since my return I've not eaten many processed or canned food. The food I've eaten since January is usually straight off the stove or freshly prepared. Again, I've not been ill from seasonal allergies and rarely touch the sudafaded. Odd.

Other things beside the food - the streets (not counting cities) seem oddly bare of life. In Malawi, there's people everywhere at all hours - working, loitering, chatting. Even daytime here with no one on the streets is depressing. Highways and streets were not always occupied by automobiles - Malawians also walked on foot or on bicycle usually carrying their wares. There is no one riding on the back of pick up trucks and lorries. Automobiles and people are far apart.

Internet access - practically unlimited especially with the active Blackberry device in my hands - is disturbing. I'm fickle with the internet use because I no longer have to set time to be tied to my laptop for a fixed time frame. Once the fixed internet time was done I could focus on doing other things, not thinking I ought to be checking the laptop or the BB every other minute. I have been lax with my overall daily structure. A month has passed now - no more excuses!