You Cannot Turn On a Nonexistent Light Switch

By Amy Simpson

View from the top of Mount Kasungu

View from the top of Mount Kasungu

On the fourth day we climbed to the top of Mount Kasungu. It proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated. I had imagined that we were going to zigzag up the mountain but no, it was pretty much a straight and steep climb all the way. I am quite proud of myself for having made it all the way to the top because to be honest I was considering quitting at the half way point. I knew though that had I quit I would have been extremely disappointed in myself. The effort in the end was well worth it because the view from the top was spectacular. On the way up we even saw monkeys for the first time, amazing!

Then on the fifth day, Sunday, part of the group decided to attend a church service. That morning I debated whether or not I wanted to go and decided against it in the end. I didn’t feel comfortable going to church here just as I would not feel comfortable attending a church service back home, a matter of personal beliefs. Instead I spoke with Lukas, a young man who is finishing his high school and will be studying at a teachers college next year. Something got lost in translation along our first conversation the day before because I thought I was going to be helping him with his English but it turns out he wanted to help me out with my Chichewa. So in the end it turns out we helped each other with vocabulary in both languages.

On another note, every time I enter my room after the sun has gone down and it is dark, I always look to the right on the wall and feel for a light switch. There is no electricity here, I know that, and yet each time I go to turn on the nonexistent light switch.

One of the most enjoyable times of the day is at night when I go to brush my teeth. It is not the feeling of freshly brushed teeth that make this a wonderful time but the night sky under which I complete this task. At night I go out with a cup of water and my toothbrush (toothpaste included) and as I brush my teeth I look up at the night sky. I have never seen so many stars in the sky. I do not think that the beauty of the starry sky will ever diminish no matter how many times I see it here.

1 thought on “You Cannot Turn On a Nonexistent Light Switch

  1. Susan van Gelder

    We take so much for granted here in Canada. We were without water on two different days where I live and some people in the building had a hard time with it. You are living in a place without running water. As you so nicely pointed out – the plus is that you get to brush your teeth outside under the stars. You are in a place that is so much more connected to the Earth. I look forward to your next post.

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