April 9, 2016
For years I’ve read the works of learned scholars on the subject of crime. In my years as a counselor, crime in various forms has raised its somewhat ugly head from time to time. I’ve never been able to discern how “scholars” point to various social issues as causal when it comes to illegal activity. I have worked with the destitute and the fabulously wealthy, for instance, and have found the incidence of illegal activity to be about the same when you go to a per capita comparison. As part of this news from Malawi missive, I have reported several crimes. I need to say that, as part of news gathering, that is in fact news. I have always been irked by the front page that shrieks in the morning about some catastrophe or other. Where is the good news? Are we addicted to the sordid and disgusting? At any rate, I want to say definitively that this is the most peaceful, law abiding society I have ever witnessed, in spite of abject poverty. People here learn early in life to make the most of what they have and to work hard for it. For example, we purchased 500 bamboo seedlings a month ago. They have stood outside for the most part ungaurded all that time and everyone, to a person, wants one or more to provide some financial security in this precarious world. Yet, they wait patiently for a moment when they have a “spare” 65 cents before coming over to choose their investment. I feel strongly that ownership and value are tied to money. 399 bamboos are in the ground with 181 to go. I sure hope this plan works out but, as I have alluded to the desperation here between seasons, I also wanted to point out the endless patience of people longing for something precious. It is very touching to behold.
The weather has cooperated with our extended planting season, thank goodness! We have had rain off and on for a week or so and clouds in between, so the earth is still soft. When I was told that the rainy season ended with March, I had big fears about dying seedlings. So far, my fears were without foundation.
Joyous singing (and I guess dancing) are going on each night as I drift off and the chanting and chatter of the working women climbing the mountain each morning will be a constant reminder to me of how spirit can turn adversity into an opportunity. USAID had a representative here from Washington the other day and she has spent several years traveling about in Malawi. We agreed that the spirit of the people makes this an ideal place to visit. She was in a bit of a rush to get back to cherry blossoms and tulips, however. As she followed up on projects with little or no progress, her spirits flagged a bit, so she was happy to hear of some of our initiatives. Dumping money with little or no oversight is a recipe for disaster wherever it takes place. That is some of the news from Malawi.
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