August 25, 2005: Headlines: COS - Mali: Blogs - Mali: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer 2manychefs in Mali: When my parents came over to visit me in my Malawian village, after a year and a half of letters and stories describing my African life, my mother turned to me and said: I never understood what it was like until I got here!

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Mali: Peace Corps Mali : The Peace Corps in Mali: August 25, 2005: Headlines: COS - Mali: Blogs - Mali: Personal Web Site: Peace Corps Volunteer 2manychefs in Mali: When my parents came over to visit me in my Malawian village, after a year and a half of letters and stories describing my African life, my mother turned to me and said: I never understood what it was like until I got here!

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Peace Corps Volunteer 2manychefs in Mali: When my parents came over to visit me in my Malawian village, after a year and a half of letters and stories describing my African life, my mother turned to me and said: I never understood what it was like until I got here!

Peace Corps Volunteer 2manychefs in Mali: When my parents came over to visit me in my Malawian village, after a year and a half of letters and stories describing my African life, my mother turned to me and said: I never understood what it was like until I got here!

"If there were two people whom I could have expected to understand, it would be my parents, if only because I had been writing weekly, sending pictures, and recounting innumerable stories. That statement stuck out in my mind because it surprised me so much. Its not like I can blame my mother; I sometimes had trouble rectifying the fact that Pennsylvania and Malawi are on the same planet, the difference being so radical."

Peace Corps Volunteer 2manychefs in Mali: When my parents came over to visit me in my Malawian village, after a year and a half of letters and stories describing my African life, my mother turned to me and said: I never understood what it was like until I got here!

2manychefs ([info]2manychefs) wrote,
@ 2005-08-25 22:57:00
Previous Entry Add to memories! Next Entry

[Excerpt]

(Wrote this at work today - wanted to practice writing, and had six hours or so to kill. It needs improvement but I figured I'd post anyway)

It is easy to concentrate on all the negative aspects of African life, and in fact our newspapers portray Africa as nothing but a quagmire of war, disease, poverty and death. Unfortunately, very few Americans are wise enough to know that the reality on the ground is quite different. Yes, there is tremendous pain and suffering in Africa, but there is also an unfiltered, authentic quality to life there. The absence of strong central authority is probably odious to some, but instead of complete anarchy, a system arises which may be referred to as ordered chaos, and while this system is a source of both frustration and amusement for those of us that come from a well-ordered society, it becomes ultimately liberating because it requires nothing more than interdependence and mutual trust to keep it afloat. African society doesnt ever function in a way that makes sense to you and I, but for a place so backwards, everything always seems to work out. Africans are also unexposed to a mass media and entertainment industry, ignorant of the world around them, and have therefore not yet traded their sense of community for our obsession with conformity, a liberation unto itself.

You can still witness all this in Africa today during an impromptu chorus that knocks your socks off, or in the sheer unabashedness with which African teenagers will throw themselves into dramatic performances, having never seen a professional actor to compare themselves to. Quirky cultural practices still abound, from women hefting everything on the top of their heads, to men considering the most erotic part of a womans anatomy to be not her breasts, but her knees. One Malawian friend refused to believe that our government issues a birth certificate to every citizen in order to better keep track of them.

When my parents came over to visit me in my Malawian village, after a year and a half of letters and stories describing my African life, my mother turned to me and said: I never understood what it was like until I got here! If there were two people whom I could have expected to understand, it would be my parents, if only because I had been writing weekly, sending pictures, and recounting innumerable stories. That statement stuck out in my mind because it surprised me so much. Its not like I can blame my mother; I sometimes had trouble rectifying the fact that Pennsylvania and Malawi are on the same planet, the difference being so radical.





When this story was posted in August 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:


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Military Option sparks concerns Date: August 21 2005 No: 713 Top Story: Military Option sparks concerns
The U.S. military, struggling to fill its voluntary ranks, is allowing recruits to meet part of their reserve military obligations after active duty by serving in the Peace Corps. Read why there is opposition to the program among RPCVs. Director Vasquez says the agency has a long history of accepting qualified applicants who are in inactive military status. John Coyne says "Not only no, but hell no!" and RPCV Chris Matthews leads the debate on "Hardball." Latest: Avi Spiegel says Peace Corps is not the place for soldiers while Coleman McCarthy says to Welcome Soldiers to the Peace Corps. RPCVs: Take our Poll.

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Upcoming Events: Peace Corps Fund in NYC Date: August 20 2005 No: 710 Upcoming Events: Peace Corps Fund in NYC
Peace Corps Fund announces Sept 29 Fund Raiser in NYC
High Atlas Foundation Hosts a Reception in NYC on Sept 15
Jody Olsen to address Maryland RPCVs at Sept 17 picnic
"Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures" in NY thru Sept 30
See RPCV Musical "Doing Good" in CA through Sept
"Iowa in Ghana" at "The Octogan" in Ames through October 7
RPCV Film Festival in DC in October
RPCV's exhibit at Museum of Man in San Diego thru May 2006

Top Stories: August 20, 2005 Date: August 20 2005 No: 711 Top Stories: August 20, 2005
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Cris Groenendaal plays Phantom of Opera on Broadway 19 Aug
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RPCV presents "Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures" 19 Aug
Robert Brown to head Southeast Asian Studies at UCLA 19 Aug
Peter McPherson to head national university association 19 Aug
Len Flier says US has lose-lose scenario in Iraq 18 Aug
Ruth DeMaio sends aid to Niger 18 Aug
Bob Taft pleads no contest to ethics law violation 18 Aug
Antoinette Allen is Field Hockey coach at Hun School 16 Aug
Tony Hall Avoids Mugabe on Zimbabwe trip 14 Aug
Peace Corps Receives 2005 Medgar Evers Award 10 Aug
Jeff Wray is filming "The Soul Searchers" 10 Aug
40th anniversary of Shriver's Foster Grandparent Program 9 Aug
Tom Petri writes "It's not just about highways" 9 Aug
Terry Dougherty brings students from Afghanistan to US 8 Aug
Chris Newhall is leading volcano scientist 5 Aug
Douglas Biklen appointed dean at Syracuse University 5 Aug
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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Mali; Blogs - Mali

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