Hike with Heart: The Beginning of a journey
Photo: The very first hike with heart activity, Colby, Rosemary, Tionge, Lazarus, chikwawa
I will begin our kulinji.com journey with my favorite Mark Twain quote “a good life is built around good relationships”. The renowned writer, Mark Twain, did not drop this line out of the blues; There must have been a catalyst to this thought. It is mostly through tragedies that we have introspection with our lives to gain insights or lessons that form philosophies of our lives which help us to progress to the next level. At this point I am assuming this premise, was the origin of the authors quote. If introspection is important for human advancement, this makes me wonder and revisit the tragedies of relationships I have within myself, environment and the world around me to see what areas needs growth and have grown.
In tragic relationship with the self, I am going to make myself vulnerable on this space and share my story. No one can explain my story better than I can and neither can I talk about your story. Through vulnerability, we share parts of ourselves, which are sacred;parts that we would normally not feel comfortable with people knowing about. Vulnerability is also one element, which is an essential element for interpersonal communication skill. In this case, I am trying to build a relation with you, my dear reader. I hope we will be able to have comment section to have and interact about Hiking or fun edifying stuff in general.
That being said, allow me to digress , so I can tell you about my complex relationship with food.
Eating two mtandas (parts) of nsima is a struggle for me and mostly I like eating in small handful portions. Most of the time I would resort to eating snacks and candy diet all day long. I used to be worse in college; my then girlfriend and friends (shout out to Florence, Hope and Melody) would lock me in my room and they would only open for me to come out if I finished eating my meals. I had a paradigm shift when my premolar tooth got bad and had to be pulled. The dentist did a very bad job and I got an infection. It was very bad, if you have ever had a dental pain you know what I am talking about. I got this infection as a result of my poor eating habits and this bad relationship with myself and candy diet had to end. Since that time, I have significantly cut the amount of candy I consumed and I have gained weight from 45kg to 60kg. I am still a work in progress and the struggle with my eating habits, although much improved, continues However, when I look back from where I am coming from, I would say this relationship has improved. What about you? What bad relationships do you have with yourself?
Another relationship we are going to examine is the relationship with the environment. There is a record high deforestation and fire blaze in the amazon forest. Right now as we read this article, the Amazon forest is burning a rate of at least two soccer fields per minute. Despite several attempts,controlling and putting out the fire seems to be a challenge.
The most disheartening part of this tale is that it is a result of intentional acts as the land is being used for commercial agriculture. It is possibly the biggest story in decades. I will not go too deep into specifics,all one has to do is google it and the information just pours in. All in all, The amazon accounts for 20% of the oxygen supply for the planet earth. Imagine the impacts these fires and deforestation are going to have on the planet. The imbalance in the ecological systems due to this reduction in oxygen supply. We have to bear in mind there are other factors such as industrialization, poor human practices and many more, which are also affecting this ecological imbalance. This accelerates the rate at which we are destroying this planet.
While looking at this issue at a global level, the issue persists closer to home. In Malawi we are not short of this, there is also a rapid deforestation at the Chikangawa forest, once the largest man-made forest in Africa in the 1950s is slowly becoming a bare desert. Climate change is a result of our toxic relationship with the environment. There is a record number of hurricanes around the world
The last tragedy we are going to examine is the relationship with the communities we surrounded. We all belong to small facets of communities that form families, neighborhoods, towns, cities, nations and the world at large. All these facets d interact in their natural environments and form a society. Certainly, families are huge pillars for the transformation of society and a nation at large. The modern day family in Malawi is under attack from forces of loss of family values, untrustworthiness and many more factors. There is a rise of divorces rates in the courts from an average 40 a month in 2014 to an average of 72 a month in 2017. Reniers (2003) shows that in Malawi lifetime divorce probabilities of an individual are between 40% and 65%. Looking at this data closely, over the years, you will notice corruption rate in both private and public sector has a correlation growth to decay in family morals in Malawi.
Corruption in Malawi is rampant Perception Index is the highest for Malawi than any other sub-Saharan country and the figure rose dropped 112 in 2015 to 122 in 2017. At this point, I hope you have gone into self-reflection mode and honestly examined how you have contributed to these negative statistics, whether it was in the form of something as subtle as using your “connections” to get away with something or through the blatant act of greasing a few palms to get things done a certain way under the guise of innocent incentives, no matter how you sugar coat these actions and try to call them by any other name the bottom line is that they fall within the definition of corrupt practices. Corruption in a society has its pains, which are sadly visible to the public eye.
Every society has its own unique shortcomings such as poor in fractures, sub-standard health care and slow economic growth to name a few. There are certain crises that affect societies at a global level and tend to have a domino effect…the general rise in HIV/AIDS cases, disparities between the rich and poor, lack of business opportunities, the list is just endless but you get the idea.
At the core of a good life, is a good relationship with environment, community and ourselves. You are probably wondering the correlation between Hike-with-Heart and decay of the relationship? At this point, I think we can all agree that Hike-with-Heart is a platform for individuals who are hiking mountains for many different reasons. These mountains are metaphors of our broken relationship with ourselves, environment and community we live. We hike mountains for fun and fitness, which can be summarized as a pursuit of happiness and a form of self-actualization. We do not hike these for mountains not only for our selfish gains but also to seek to pursue charity with the environment and communities we belong.
At the very heart of the members is a firm concrete belief that no one is left behind. We do have the profound sense in our hearts that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we accomplish anything in this world, it will be in equal measure due to the work and achievement of others. Through this spirit, we have initiatives such as The Quarterly blood drive, Hike for the braille school library, Hike for girl-child sanitation hygiene and hike for orphans and underprivileged kids. We have grand projects for the environment to replant trees in Soche Hill. This dear reader is the heart in the hikes and we find this spirit in the mountains we climb. Every mountain has its own unique challenges, its own stories to tell and no mountain is ever high enough if you have the heart to pursue it despite the tragedies in your life.Hike with Heart helps me face my mountains to create a better environment for a good life for me and you.
What mountains do you have in your life?