We are coming up to three years in Malawi – yes, it has gone fast, yes it has been seriously challenging and yes it is practice for living in the now, accepting what is, and being incredibly grateful to be an Australian and to know that we can return to one of the most efficient, sophisticated, egalitarian and nicest places to live on the planet … and where people generally have a great sense of humour and can laugh at themselves and life.
Then again, maybe it is all that great food, great wine, great coffee and sunshine. But, since the job is open-ended we might have a bit more Africa work to do for some time yet. Perhaps when there is no ‘light’ at the end of the tunnel you find it easier to accept what is. I am not sure about that but it’s a good theory.
What I do know is that living for so long in undeveloped or Third World countries makes one appreciate how good we have it, despite the flaws and the fact that many things could be better and that the veneer of civilization is flimsier than we think and our time is better spent working to preserve the best we have and seeking to improve what is, instead of whinging about what is wrong.
Counting blessings I think many of our ancestors would have called it and people who lived with greater poverty and injustice than Australians today could ever recognise. The same sort of poverty and injustice which still confronts most people in the world today, even some who live in countries which call themselves developed.