Friday, 10 January 2014
So many of you may already know but I have quitmy job at Mzuzu University and with the Brien Holden Vision Institute and am currently writing this post from the banks of the Luangwa river looking at South Luangwa National Park. Why did I quit? To be honest it was something that I had been considering for a few months and all of a sudden I cracked. Over the last few months I had felt that I was surplus to requirements and felt that a lot of the work I was given was secretarial based. I was losing my love for the job and as my heart was no longer in it, I was not giving it my all. I am Isomeone who firmly believes that if you are going to do a job then you should do it to the best of your abilities. This is even more the case when you are educating people. If I was not giving my all I would be doing a great disservice to my students. With all of this I began to question "Where am I going in life?", "What am I doing here?". I was becoming bitter and cynical and, if I am honest, a little depressed. What I needed was friends around me to remind me that indeed I was doing something worthwhile, that I was needed. Instead I found myself coming home from work in tears and staying in my What I house not socialising. It was a vicious circle. A place I had come to consider home, a job that a few months ago I had thoroughly enjoyed, these were things I could no longer stand, things that were making me unhappy. And then there was the dilemma of friends here. People I truly care about,people I cannot imagine not seeing again (let's be honest Malawi isn't the easiest of places to pop over for a few days), people,that if I left Malawi, I would very likely not see again. So all of this in combination meant many weeks deliberating and considering options. I spoke to my direct boss and the people involved in recruiting me both about my unhappiness and that I was considering leaving and they both promised to help, get me someone to talk to. I tried to make it work as leaving, in may eyes, was failing, was running oaway and was something I didn't want to do. However despite promises, nothing materialised and I once again found myself wondering what I was doing with my life. So what prompted the decision? After yet another incident where I was being blamed by someone for their mistake and had my intelligence insulted, I realised that I just could not work with someone who implied that did not know the difference between a soft contact lens and an RGP. Yes, I only have a bachelors degree but that is something any optometry student could.answer, never mind a qualified optom. Having spoken to my bosses in South Africa, and having had a previous conversation completely misrepresented, I realised that the situation was not going to get any better. They had a person who expressed interest in staying long term, who had lecturing experience and then there was me. So I quit. Almost instantly I felt better,like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could breathe easier. It was a decision that was made suddenly but not lightly. It was a decision that was extremely difficult to make, I still wonder if I made the right decision but the change in my mood since then tells me I have. Maybe a long holiday would have helped, who knows but now the decision has been made What I really want to do is thank my friends who were so supportive when I made the decision. Many of them realised that I had changed from the happy, outgoing person I was and realised that this is what I needed. Unfortunately this was not the case in 100% of people and some people who I thought were my friends now isolated me and showed no regard for my well being. I sincerely hope that these people will realise that my decision was something I had to do for myself and come to terms with it. I then packed up the house and left with Puncque and Alice for Nkhata bay where I spent the holidays swimming, eating, drinking and in good company. All of this made it very difficult to leave. But leave I did and destination number one was Zambia and South Luangwa National park. So as I sit with a cold Mosi in hand, where to next? To Lusaka and then to see the "Smoke that thunders". Then hopefully to Botswana and Namibia and eventually to meet Edward in South Africa before returning to Malawi for at least a week in March. I fly home on the 31st of March just in time for a friend's wedding. Stay tuned for my Southern Africa adventures Quote for the day: "The time has come,The Walrus said, To talk of many things. Of shoes -and ships- and sealing wax, Of cabbages and Kings" - Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass.