I thought life in the Shire Valley would simply be an extension of my days in Mozambique! I thought I’d potter around with endless time, taking photos and writing posts upon posts of blogs and maybe even a book too!!! But that life is a distant memory; floating down the Shire river towards a place I no longer call home! Of course with every major decision, comes change. And my big change was homeschooling! While the experience has been weirdly positive, ( I say that because I had never believed it possible that homeschooling could provide any enjoyment…honest!) I long for the time I once had. The opportunity to pursue a future in a photography and writing. I know, with certainty, that there will come a time again that I can continue in the direction I want to, but for now – my time is consumed by homeschooling, play dates, overnight trips to Blantyre for extra-mural lessons, planning for tomorrow’s lessons and quite simply, just being ‘mom!’ Not to forget the dreaded daily cooking! Who ever would think I was once a chef?!
“Teaching seems to require the sort of skills one would need to pilot a bus full of live chickens backwards, with no brakes, down a rocky road through the Andes while providing colorful and informative commentary on the scenery.” – Franklin Habit
Having the time to take photos has become a novelty! On top of that, it’s quite apparent that the photo culture in Malawi is quite different to that of Mozambique. With the exception of the lake and possibly the North to which I have never been, a simple sighting of a camera can evoke aggressive behaviour! While I am exceptionally cautious about taking photos in Malawi, I dearly miss the openness and friendliness of the Mozambicans when it comes to photography. I’m neither disrespectful nor pushy when it comes to taking photos but my experience with photography in Malawi has been like offering a 2 year old a Chocolate Cake laden with Smarties and sparkly things, then being told not to eat it! So often, while driving along the road, I see a colourful and vibrant culture. I see markets with mountains of crumpled clothes, from snow suits to lacy brassieres. I see an open air pork butchery, with a headless pig perfectly spatch-cocked and with their owners, casually sporting a blood-spattered machete waiting for their next sale. I see women carrying 20 litres of water upon their head with a straight posture that would make most chiropractors happy. I see a family of 5 on an ex UK Royal Mail bicycle with ‘dad peddling furiously, ‘mom’ with baby on her back, a child sandwiched between them and the toddler sporting a ride in the front basket. I see ‘Irish potato’ chip stalls, ground levels fish stalls and thieving goats winding their way through the maze stalls – meeting their merry end the following day! Every day I see stories unfolding, I see images that speak a thousand words but I mostly keep my camera hidden!
And then today happened!
Just recently, I have secured myself one hour of ‘me time’ prior to school – an absolute treat! I proceed to march around the golf course, with dogs in tow, enjoying the bird life and open space. The lazy Shire River wraps around the boundary of the estate and borders the golf course for a couple hundred metres. With this new and much appreciated walking ritual of mine, I’ve noticed 2 regular fishermen – effortlessly casting their nets, silhouetted against the rising sun. A few days ago, I built up some of my old courage and approached them about a photo shoot! And they said ‘yes!!’ As it always does, it came with a small price – but one that I was quite happy to pay!
Today I officially met Solli and Elson – two fishermen who frequent the Shire River, casting their nets in hope of a big catch. It bought back some fond memories I have of Francisco – the old Pungwe fisherman and ex Renamo soldier in Mozambique – On the Midnight ride to war – whom shared his incredible life story with me. I’ve planned to meet Solli again next week for an interview in which I hope to learn more about the every day life on the Shire River. We shall meet on the banks of the river, at a safe distance from the crocodile-infested water!
Beware the barroness of a busy life – Socrates
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Rest and repose are as much a part of life’s journey’s as seeing all we came to see.” – Gina Greenlee
Like meeting up with an old friend again, the opportunity to do what I love doing was blissful! Who could think that with a ‘click of a camera button,’ I’d be floating around with glee for the entire day!
We usually find that it is the simplest things – not the great occasions – that in retrospect give off the greatest glow of happiness. – Bob Hope