Saturday, June 19, 2010

Immersed in a New Culture

Venturing to what we would imagine to be vacation was not part of the trip, or so we believed. As we arrived at Safari Beach Lodge on Lake Malawi, our disbeliefs became reality. Emily Kline, with her warm and contagious smile, was only able to describe the unforgettable view of Lake Malawi by saying “Are you kidding me!!!” However, once we settled, it became harder and harder to imagine what our eyes had before us in comparison to the lifestyles we encountered on our journey there.

While traveling to Lake Malawi, we stopped at a small village, where we first saw the true hardships and different characteristics in comparison to ours at home. Graciously greeting complete strangers into their homes is not something one would typically expect, but no other words are able to describe how this family of Malawi accepted us. As many of us were unable to predict what we would experience, it was obvious from the start, the simplicity of true love is what carries them in life.

After settling into our gazebos at Lake Malawi, we enjoyed a lunch buffet and headed down to the beach area. Separating the beautiful, luxurious view from the fish market was straw-built wall, tied together with twine. After entering the fish market, it was obvious that we were not only in a different village, but a different world.

On our arrival, we felt as drawn to the children as they were to us. We were greeted by the friends of the village and their positive energy. Though the language differences seemed to create some difficulties, the body language spoke for itself. The universal smile was displayed from both the families of the village, and our engaged minds. The lifestyle led was flexible, but demanding. The demand from the adults of the village to feed their children enabled most children to embrace heavy responsibilities. Caring for an infant at five years old is not something we would see in America, but here it is a large part of life. Just as we have heard in our Ball State classrooms, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is more evident than ever imagined here. The basic needs of food and shelter is the first step for few, but the only for others.

Before leaving the village we viewed an amazing display of musical intelligence as the children danced their hearts out to music played through a radio with the use of a generator. We finished out our day by gathering as a family by the pool, reflecting on the day we had experienced. By sharing the same desire to experience a larger scope of the world in which we live, we also were able to find some personal and professional goals to focus on individually throughout our venture. The beauty and spirit felt during our musical entertainment after our dinner is something that can only be described on our return home. However, pictures WILL be provided!

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