Monday, 12 September 2016

Reflections on Childhood versus Technology

Children having fun with ICS Progressio volunteers in
Nkhata Bay district 
It is now been over a month since I first arrived in Malawi. Amongst all of our cultural differences, the thing that has stood out to me the most is the sense of community and how happy everyone here is. Families in Malawi do not have much as compared to us back home in the UK and yet they seem to be so happy with their lives. It's such a breath of fresh air to see children being children. Playing outside and getting covered in dirt, instead of sitting inside playing with various electronic devices. 

Personally, I feel that as the UK has developed and our technology has advanced, we have lost some of the simple ways of having fun. We have grown as a country and yet we have not grown to our full potential as individuals. Here in Malawi, the children spend time from dusk till dawn outside: playing, falling over, making new friends, and discovering what is around them. As individuals, these children seem so aware of their surroundings and they find new ways of recreation by themselves playing with what's around. For me, technology is what I use to survive and communicate. From small things such as checking the time to getting directions, I am always relying on technology.

When we first landed at Lilongwe International Airport, my first point of call was to charge my phone, get a simcard and get internet access. This just shows how much we, from the UK, cannot go without technology for very long.

However living out here I have learnt that you do not need the latest gadgets to have fun and communicate. The simplest things that are locally available make people happy. Just sitting playing games with my host family or having a conversation over dinner - no technology needed.

Let the game begin! ICS Progressio volunteers captured during one
of their sessions with children in Nkhata Bay district- Malawi
 In Malawi, children do not have phones; if you want to speak to your friend you talk to them in person. I have
 made such strong bonds with people here by just being with them. When we have had electricity blackouts we have had to find new ways to pass time other than watching TV or being on Facebook.
The sense of oneness in the villages of Malawi is something to admire. People leave their homes open all day, everyone and anyone is welcome to come round and will always be greeted and looked after. The relationship everyone has with their neighbours is one of trust.

Being in this beautiful country has taught me so much and given me much to reflect on as well. Here are some questions I feel we should all think about: 

       Do we really need as much technology as we use every day in our lives? 
       How have we become very reliant on materialistic things, just by growing up in a different the part of the                world?

by Maria Tariq

No comments: