Aaaaah. Easing into August was surprisingly enjoyable - must be due to my week long holiday on the shores of the blue, blue Lake Malawi last week. I was able to make the most of my trip out there, where I willingly ensconced myself beneath the shadows of the trees and languished on the veranda of Big Blue Star Backpackers, just a few steps away from the cool water.
Sitting on that veranda, I felt like I was at the edge of an ocean that threatens to drop you as the end of it nears on your unnamed journey, like the depth of the fall at the end of the world in Amy Tan’s book, “The Bonesetter’s Daughter”. Gazing across this expanse of lake, which isn’t really all that big if you look at it on a map, you get the feeling that where I was really is the end of the world, as if there is no continuity. Of course, this perception isn’t true. Somewhere over there on the other side is Tanzania and the island port of Mbamwe (give me a map, someone!). And then, there is also the continuity of there always being something more over there in the beyond.
One of these days, I’ll write a novel about the culture of backpacking, about the people one inevitably always meet on the road, about their stories of travel, and the inexplicable feeling of certainty, this odd knowing that I’ll see this person again, which has always given me comfort whenever I’ve crossed geographies. Conversations exchanged, mid-travel, also seem more colorful – if not unfinished - when you know that person is moving on in a couple of days. I’ve always found myself to be more than mildly inquisitive about the future direction of their journeys, but as usual was hesitant to ask for details out of fear that I would be thought too nosey. Nosey people are distasteful to some.
Easing into the following week was equally easy, as indicated by the completion of the waste technology cost-benefit report I had been working on over the past two months. Researching and writing the information that would be important for the Council to know was laborious. And finally, just last Wednesday, I finished the final revision of it and printed and bound it the following day. I feel victorious. After the labor of preparing the written report, the presentation will be a breeze. The Council now has something to work with and the members will be able to discuss and plan for waste management using concrete, qualitative and quantitative information.
Since my return from Malawi, I haven’t been able to keep the rest of Africa out of my mind. Maybe my restlessness is attributed to the morsels of braii goat meat I nibbled on somewhere between Nkhotakota and Salima, perhaps it’s due to the backpackers’ tales of their adventures in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, or quite possibly because of the written reminders from someone of how cumbersome overland travel can be. Whatever it is, I’m already planning my next trip during Christmas. Bus it to Botswana or take the ferry across to Tanzania? Whatever I choose, I’m certain that the people I meet will be as colorful as the ones I got to know on this last trip.
I’m taking suggestions.