Friday, July 17, 2009

Virtue Called Patience

Those of us who travel the world have one challenge to tackle seriously: Impatience. It is a legitimate condition.

We see super highways, great airports, and shopping malls that have everything from cinema to chapels. And we want Malawi to turn into these in a day. That, too, is my wish. I was with Bonface Dulani the other day on the Masauko Chipembere Highway in Blantyre. Bon had returned home to do some research in Malawi, Zambia, Namibia and a few other countries.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the new road, saying it should have been eight lanes because we need to think the future. True.

But upon reflecting on that, I discovered every journey has a starting point. And four lanes is our point of departure. If it were not for his Europe and US visits, Bon would have been excited with the dual carriage highway being constructed in Blantyre.

This is not about Bon. It is about all of us who travel the world. I once wrote an article about my dissatisfaction with Chileka International Airport. But I did not demand Heathrow in Malawi. I just wanted decent terminals including clean toilets.

Chileka was renovated. It looks better than it was though not what we may want. But in a country that had food shortage, infrastructure was not a priority. People had to eat first. And you know hunger is a killer.

The US and Europe spent years building. We cannot build in decades when they built in centuries. But do we really have to wait for over a 100 years? No. We need to move with speed.

One challenge is that Malawi was neglected for sometime. Now we want to do all that was supposed to be done in 30 years in five years. Impossible.

It is also unfair to demand everything from President Bingu wa Mutharika or whoever comes in 2014. Let us move slowly, step by step.

I have come to realise that this is reality. Now that I am in Egypt, admiring this desert land that is well built and being made green, I can only hope we too will make it some day.

It takes patience. That is the pain of it.

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