Timonene (hello...in Chitonga!:)
 
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Folks, we're pushing up on the $3,000 mark! Thank you to all who have made contributions to Reflections for RIPPLE. Our St. Patrick's Day weekend swim topic revolves around life's constants...Huh? 

I wanted to connect the dots between this thought and the enormous plane matrix separating Malawi and the US. No need for graph paper or a calculator, this should make sense by the bottom of the page, whereupon your donations are gladly welcomed!

Our weekly swim took place this past Sunday afternoon. Gardner and I converged on the ole' swimming hole by way of divergent tangent, forcefully being rerouted around the Lake Front Path due to a police standoff. Hello variable numero uno.

The other variable you can count on is weather, especially with Sunday proving to be a quite cold for Mid-March. We watched Saturday's high of 45 deplete to a lowly 24 degree high, with some serious NE winds. Several weeks ago Gardner and I made the plunge with wind chills hovering near Zero. Sunday proved to be similar conditions, though abundant sunshine added to the 'calm' factor after the plunge. 

During our run I started to reflect on this idea of constants between Malawi and the States. And as we continue to deal with unpredictable accuweather forecasts (paradoxical by nature :) I was reminded that these weekly swims do involve an element of consistency, that being the lynch-pin of this endeavor: body heat!

With air temperature, wind, sun and precipitation all playing a role in each week's swim, even their sum doesn't equal the power of your own body’s ability to produce heat. I suppose it’s my strongest argument as to why these swims are comfortable in light of extreme cold and questionable rationale. With proper layering and a good hard sweat most anything is possible. I mean, who wants to be cold in the winter? I sure don't!

Transitioning to a Malawian standpoint, these constants exist in both positive and negative measure. The pursuit of happiness and family values speaks to a culture rooted in a positive constant, whereas change afforded by new practices are difficult to grasp, and even harder to apply long term. In our fast paced world, sometimes the benefits of improved standards of living are not measured in days, months or even years, but rather by generation.

Let's take the intangibles of RIPPLE's Environmental Conservation bylaws as our case study. The laws, co-drafted with local village leaders, are intended to help communities protect their land and forests for future generations, while also keeping land productive in present time. What was once constant now faces abrupt change, and though long-term benefits are positive the notion of change is a real jolt. But in time laws like this will become more widely adopted and ingrained into daily life, their benefits becoming recognizable to future generations. 

Think of RIPPLE's endeavors as a catalyst of change for the local communities. In respect to beneficial environmental change, constants sometimes need to be up-ended, for the sake of a more long-term perspective. This is the power of change, with the reality of a long uphill battle. Most importantly it’s this change that strives to become constant; it may just take a generation to get there.

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