Africa

Our magic moments in Malawi

I think I’m addicted. I can’t spend too much time in front of a TV or weekend after weekend doing ‘not much.’

I actively seek out those ‘supreme moments of contentedness’, that come with ‘getting out and doing things.’ Those moments when I truly feel alive and happy. They’re ‘moments’ that are usually quiet, in a beautiful setting and completely spontaneous.

The moment I am ‘fully present,’ immersed in it and only it. Sometimes it’s an astounding moment, when all the forces of nature come together, presenting me with a ‘show’ like no other. Or the moment we reach the top of the mountain after a grueling hike and a mysterious and unexpected land spreads out before us. The moment the sun sets; painting the sky in oranges and purples and the beach and people in a glowing light. Or the moment I see my children leap from a boat with their friends into the turquoise lake and I watch a sweet, sweet childhood memory in the making.

“We are no more than candles burning in the wind.” – Japanese Proverb

I think kids are especially good at living in the moment, though usually unaware of what a truly spectacular moment it is! I’m glad I’ve got my camera for this reason! I’ll capture that moment and stick the photo in an album! And as they get older and they learn to recognize these moments in their life, they’ll know how it started and they too will make special effort to get out there and to be fully present and content in a moment.

“Sunset, like childhood, are viewed with wonder not just because they are beautiful but because they are fleeting.” – Richard Paul Evans

We’ve had a great few months since moving to South Africa in the way of ‘very little TV.’ It first came about because we had so much on the go and getting all the paper work necessary to terminate our Africa DSTV licence and to apply for a South African DSTV licence came with an endless amount of paperwork and phone calls. After many fruitless phone calls and being put on hold or transferred, TV was pushed to the bottom of a very long list of things to do when moving to a new country. I’m quite grateful about that now.

I remember my childhood and the ‘rule’ my mother had – that during the day we had to be ‘outside, playing.’ It was probably more to do with my mother’s desperate determination to have a tidy house for a few hours but it certainly encouraged us to be ‘kids;’ to play and to use our imagination. Our days weren’t sucked up with long sessions of TV or gaming; days devoid of ‘experience, physical activity, discovery and using our own imagination.’

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Interestingly, during our time in Malawi when I had to ‘homeschool’ my children – I always knew when they needed a TV detox. If they watched too much, they’d become easily distracted and moody and teaching them became a living nightmare! I sympathise with the teachers these days, as I’m sure my experience with teaching my own kids and too much TV, is not limited to just them.  I’ve also come to learn that with too much TV and gaming, our kids forget ‘how’ to play. How often have I heard the words, ‘I’m bored – what can we do?’  With our minimal TV sessions in South Africa  – I’ve noticed how they are no longer dependent on TV for entertainment.  We’re now presented with evening shows – usually where they are ‘Magicians’ and my daughter makes her younger brother magically ‘disappear,’ behind a curtain. Or they spend hours in the sandpit or climbing trees. I hear them talking to themselves, creating a story as they go, be it that they are a rescue team saving Dolly (Barbie) from a torrential storm (the sprinkler) and 3 marauding beasts. (A plastic tiger, centipede and a unicorn) They’re completely engrossed in the moment and in the story.

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We had many of ‘these’ moments in Malawi – the moments we felt alive and content. These pictures are just some of those moments. Moments no TV or game could ever achieve.

“We do not remember days…we remember moments.” – Casare Pavese

23 replies »

  1. I can completely relate to the experience with the TV. Our children’s imaginations are nurtured without it. The more they watch it seems the more ‘helpless’ they become. We have many memorable moments from world travel over the last few years, but I have only good intentions of making an album. Thanks for the reminder.

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  2. No words lianne.
    Absolutely wonderfull piece and pics..
    Kids are really lucky to have such an upbringing, so close to nature.

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  3. Wonderful pictures, story, thoughts. I was taken back this week, by our 4 yr grandchild seemiingly addicted to Ninja Turtles on the TV. In my childhood, it was a big backyard, and all the advantures a real world could provide. Speaking of which, what is that catterpiller thing>>>>Whooo! M:-)

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    • Thank you 🙂 In times like these when so much of what we experience is on a ‘screen’ of sorts, it takes a good amount of effort to keep the ‘traditional childhood’ alive! As for the caterpillar image…they are actually hundreds of caterpillars in a long line heading to greener pastures! First time I’ve ever seen it!

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    • Thank you Tricia 🙂 You are so right – what they’ve experienced in their first few years of life has been such a privilege. I like to think that one day they’ll look back and appreciate it. I think they will 🙂

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    • Thank you Mike 🙂 Although I certainly enjoy a good movie, with the sun shining and all these places to explore – we’ve got to be out! Except in the Natal Spring of course, the sun doesn’t appear for a good few months apparently! Admittedly, I did buy a few extra dvd’s in those months!

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