Timonene (hello...in Chitonga!:)
Alas, no swim for this Canuck this past weekend as a common head cold set in mid-week. Fear not, however, I’ll be doing double duties this weekend (and possibly this week – as we’re approaching summer weather of 40+ degrees).

Despite my congestion and hacking (I do feel better now, thanks for asking), I managed to get out each night for a good sweat and run, concentrating on my breath and not over-exerting my lungs. It felt great.

Running with a cold seems counter intuitive to recovery, though we all know our own bodies the best and for me fresh air, deep breathing, sweating out toxins, elevated heart rate and zen-style consistent breathing are imperative to a quick turnaround.

My time spent with RIPPLE Africa was the healthiest I’ve ever felt in my life. I’ll stand by that saying for the rest of my life, said here in my 2012 Volunteer Story on RIPPLE’s website.

I thought I’d share some snip-bits of how I came to such a statement.

Fresh Air

Volunteering with RIPPLE Africa means you have fresh air for your entire stay. No recirculated or inside air, ever. The volunteer chalets all get great breezes off the Lake, while your day is usually spent outside at various sites. You know that feeling from recirculated air on an airplane? Think of the opposite.

Alram clock’less

Other than waking to catch a taxi for a flight, I never used one…and always woke up on time. That’s because you’re afforded a fresh-air sleep, and a sunrise to wake you every single day. And if it’s raining or cloudy, you have birds chirping at dawn.

Volunteering with RIPPLE allows you this luxury, found almost nowhere else on earth; the ability to get into consistent sleep cycles dictated by the sunset and sunrise. There would be nights where I’d sleep for 11 hours. I’ve never felt more rested in my life.

Knowing you’ll wake up to a rising sun, instead of an iPhone alarm clock is mind blowing.

The Lake!

If you haven’t gathered already (…maybe you’re a hunter?-joke), I love to swim. More importantly, I love the sensation of being enveloped by fresh water. While in Malawi, I swam every single day (usually 2 or 3 times).

After a sunrise wake up, I would head down to the lake for a morning swim. Talk about a way to wake up! Almost like a daily baptism, the lake’s morning tranquility isn’t just found in Malawi, but in all lakes. What a blessing to have in such close proximity.

Cold Showers

At the time I volunteered, we didn’t have any hot water for showers. However, you quickly realize that your body can become acclimated to the water temperature quite quickly. Morning showers consisted of an accelerated scrub, though afternoon heat made a cool shower quite enjoyable.


Drinking water

I’ll also stand behind saying that the best water I’ve ever tasted came from Malawi. RIPPLE Africa has a bore-hole well drilled into an underwater aquifer hundreds of feet down, that provides drinking water for volunteers, staff and local community members. No iodine tablets, no bottled water. Maybe it was a state of mind, but that water was so very delicious.


Good Sweats and Sunshine

Every day affords you a hard-working sweat, and usually plenty of sunshine.  I applied sunscreen almost every day, and never once had a bad sunburn. Gotta have big respect for that gaseous ball we all orbit!

Whenever sick, I always find it helpful to simply stand in the sun. Not for that great bronze look we all crave, but for Vitamin D, and its natural warmth.  In Malawi, there’s plenty of sun and sweat to go around for all!


The Food!

RIPPLE Africa is located in the Northern rural region of Malawi. Here there is no real transportation infrastructure, so much of what is consumed is from subsistence farming or sold at local markets. If you’re eating a vegetable, chances are it was grown less than a mile away. Akin to organic farming, it’s a model of nutrition that is simply unavailable to more developed countries, as we rely on economies of scale to truck-in food.



Volunteering in Malawi allows you an opportunity to unplug from our very connected world. Even though cell phones and calls to America are only a dial away, life doesn’t revolve around said technologies. The irony of it all being you feeling more connected in a less connected environment. Oh what a paradox.

All these example add up to a day-to-day experience that is becoming harder and harder to find in our world. It’s not necessarily primitive; it’s more of how you (your body) choose to embrace your surroundings.

The healthiest months of my life! Gosh, feeling better already.



03/14/2015 7:56pm

Running with a cold seems counter intuitive to recovery, though we all know our own bodies the best and for me fresh air, deep breathing, sweating out toxins, elevated heart rate and zen-style consistent breathing are imperative to a quick turnaround.

03/15/2017 12:49am

The things you mentioned seem to be the very basic things we all need. Unfortunately most of us who grew up in crowded cities never even get to experience this anymore. It's sad. If I have a lot of time I would have done this once a week - get in touch with nature. I heard it is the quickest way to communicate with God.

05/25/2017 9:56pm

While reading everything you shared in your blog, it makes me want to go to that place. In the city where I live, I seldom hear birds chirping and roosters crowing. I miss visiting the beauty of nature! And oh, just like you, I love to swim, too! Living in a province is like living a simple life, and enjoying God's wonderful creations.

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Do you ever been in a Great Rift that splits Malawi? You should visit it. This is a great view!


Sports activity on a fresh air with a good company of best friends is all I dream about!

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