The Beginnings of Reverse Culture Shock

We had some transition time back to the western world in England.

I do believe that I have spent more time in the Amsterdam airport than any other airport. So on this trip home, we once again spent several hours in that airport. But in England, we actually got a chance to see London for a few days. It was absolutely lovely. It was also a good way to experience the western world before being home.

When walking through the Amsterdam airport I was confronted with the media and advertising that invades our daily life. Stimulation overload. There were bright lights, colors, and photographs in every direction. Music filled the background in some places. I was going from a place with limited resources to a place with unlimited.

Consumerism and media go together because one feeds the other. In America, we have so many things that we don’t know what to do with them all. There are even devices for washing your mushrooms. In Africa, there is a limited amount of things and they always want more. While in the villages, a common phrase we heard was the only English phrase that many people in Malawi know, give me money. You may be thinking why. Well, since whenever people started to come from the western world to Malawi, they gave money. In the name of Jesus, they did philanthropy. Therefore, what people know when they see someone from the western world, is that there is money to be had. And they know they don’t have to work for it, they just open a palm. Although the plea for money is prevalent in America, it just has a different face. It is in the constant mailing requests from numerous organizations, it is the homeless people on street corners holding signs, it is the lady in the mall parking lot trying to sell candles because times have been tough for her family. One difference is that in America the poor often seem to be alone, whereas in Malawi the poor are with their families and villages. After living in a place where water and electricity came as gifts, I would now be stepping back into a world where such things are expected as a basic needs. How would I cope?…well as I rode on the moving sidewalk in the Amsterdam airport and walked the streets of London, I was both overwhelmed and refreshed.

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Filed under adventures, Malawi, travel

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