Steve Quits VSO Shock!
World According To
"...Scanning through these newsletters provides
a time for reflection" More...
Highlights (and lowlights)
"Where do you start when reviewing the last
2 years" More...
So What Do You Think About Malawi?
"Throughout my stay in Malawi, I was always
being asked" More...
What Are Your Plans Now
"Quite simple really!"
It is nearly that celebrated time, when
I become an ex-VSO. So it must also be that celebrated time
when I look back, and try to make sense of it all...
World According to (my newsletters)
SCANNING THROUGH this
site I am reminded of several interesting tales, and several interesting
ways of telling that tale too.
There's the Pulp
Fiction account of the 'Little Differences' between life
in Malawi and life in UK (those differences are still larger than
ever). There's a video-game rendition
of my first trip to Mulanje Massif (I've only trekked up that amazing
place a few times since). Then there's my exhausting cycle ride
up Malawi's equivalent of Alpe d'Huez - the Chikwawa escarpment
(I haven't actually included that pained description!)
My Tents, Pies and Sellotape
of Jan '96 describes the Christmas
'95 visit of my family (I'm only just recovering). There's the awkward
description of splitting up with Rachel at the start
of 1996. And who can forget my hilarious
adventures in Harare with Rachel (not Rachel's insurance company,
that's for sure).
I also told you about
the dullness of life in July '96
(and those quiet times are never far away). Things improved with
various Mangochi weekends (where
I met Caro-Anne), and an indulgent stay at Malawi's finest, Ku Chawe
Inn (Nov '96). I visited UK for
Christmas '96 (and made some
strange observations). I suffered for my art, in January
97 (putting dreadlocks in your hair, surely not!). And of course,
I played an awful lot of football (or so this site would have it)
- scoring amazing goals, and even playing against Malawi's national
Phew! Some stay.
Highlights (and Lowlights)
WHERE DO you start when
trying to look back over the last two years of your life? It's not
an easy assessment to make, is it! First, I suggest you look out
for the pop-up sound-bytes (or a not-so-serious list) of best and
worst things about living in Malawi.
Basically, any two year
period of your life will have good times as well as frustrating
times. Here - to coin an over-used phrase - these times are a little
But has it been worthwhile?
What has it all meant, to be a volunteer in Malawi? Good or bad
idea!? Again, there are no easy answers, I'm afraid. I have learnt
a lot about myself, and a lot about what it means for a country
to be a developing country. I've learnt a little about the complexities
of living in Malawi, also. Other than that, you'll just have to
do it for yourself, or talk to me for a long time (two years experiences
can't be reduced to a 5-minute sound byte).
I once wrote, though,
in a VSO report: "Life here is fun. It's also challenging,
difficult, frustrating, complex, and isolating. And throughout,
there are no easy answers - you just do what you think is right,
and you learn!" And I think I still agree with these words.
What Do You Think of Malawi
THROUGHOUT MY stay in
Malawi, I was always being asked: "What do you think of Malawi?".
I had polite, and not-so-polite replies, depending on the sort of
day I'd had. To avoid any contradictions now, here are a collection
of other people's replies:
Well, what do you
think of Britain?
- "It's great!
I love it!"
- "The people are
- "It's a beautiful
- "Not what I thought
when I arrived!"
- "You're treated
as an outsider, and no matter how many years you live here, you'll
always be treated as one!"
- "It's great!
I just don't like being an Azungu here!" Azungu means white
- "It's such a
What Are Your Plans Now
QUITE SIMPLE, really.
Get a good job, meet a good woman, have kids, get a dog (get two),
settle down, and live happily ever after. And by the time you get
this newsletter, my plans may have already started (though 'a good
job' may necessitate further travel and study first).
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