Timonene (hello...in Chitonga!:)
Ah, the age old adage of ‘less is more’…

I’ve wanted to sew this common thread into ‘Reflections for RIPPLE’ for thumb time now. Now, put that thimble on and get ready for less, cause it’s more!

Puns aside, this is a saying that resonated deeply while I was volunteering in Malawi; and though the applications are different from one country to another its insight is worth sharing with you, the reader. 

Keeping this thought in mind our week 15 swim/run started with a ‘less is more’ mentality due to the balmy 40 degree weather: Fewer layers! Gardner and I departed this past Sunday afternoon to find these enjoyable temperatures, sunny skies and welcoming harbor water. Wind chills brought the temp down from 40 to about 25, as a strong and steady SW wind made for some heightened skin cells once the plunge was had.

Fellow swimmers can attest to the enveloping shock of cold water and perhaps even more memorable, the satisfaction afterwards as you reflect on your shiver’less endeavor. For me, the entire weekly event from start to finish culminates in those 5-10 minutes after the swim.  It is this present moment that leads me back to Malawi, and an ideal worth living even in infinitesimal daily rigors. Ah the power and simplicity of a single moment. Here are some examples of how more can come from less:


CCM Stoves:

These stoves rock like granite, or like bark on wood!  I talk about them all the time so here’s a video if you’re unfamiliar. By using a smaller amount of wood, oxygen is able to flow-in and exhaust more efficiently. The assumption that cramming wood into these stoves is quickly dismissed by the user once they realize this. Trial by fire baby!

  Plastic Bags:

Garbage pick-up/management does not exist in rural Malawi. Imagine not having this in your daily life. For some, small plastic bags are used as fire-starter. Though it may seem counter-intuitive by burning plastic, it’s an excellent example of resourcefulness out of necessity. Full-cycle it is probably quantifiably more effective than the carbon footprint created by waste management. Just sayin’.

Soccer ball…condom:

Yep. Even a simple soccer ball is a luxury in Malawi. Local children will take an unused condom, blow it up, and wrap it in plastic bags and finally tie it off with strings. And they work. It is this simple example that stuck with me most poignantly. 

I find these to be great examples of how less truly is more; especially in a culture where there is no real alternative. For us to even have this option of lifestyle is a blessing.

Ever tried living without paper towel in the kitchen? Instead using cloth towels and water? Or reusing a single cup for your morning jaunts to Starbucks and lunch? The little things all add up. And though these small acts may not directly affect Africans stricken in poverty, it helps bring our standard of living to more reasonable levels. Greater parity on this front is how we’ll solve problems. Macro meets mirco. See you in the middle.





09/19/2017 6:51pm

I love the fact that you and you're best friend are doing great deeds and joining different missions to help other people. This is what we call "friendship goals"! In one of your post, you have mentioned that you've been together for almost 20 years and you have ben doing this ever since you knew each other. People like you are the ones who deserve support from the public! Going to Malawi and joining a particular mission is simply a goal for me!


That water looks very cold to swim in! You and your friends sure have the courage to dive into that kind of water. Though, it looks satisfying as you have said. The cold surely adds to the feel and memory of that moment. I would love to do something like that with my friends. Less is definitely more if you make the best out of it. I am enlightened with what you've said in the last part of your blog. I would make sure to see things around me like that.

10/03/2016 10:29am

Well this is really cold weather for swimming. You should be well prepared for the low temperature.

10/03/2016 10:30am

Do you have a coats nearby? Because it is cold to even watch)) Take a hot tea guys!

10/03/2016 10:31am

Swimming in the winter season can be dangerous and not because of cold temperature - you can easily get under iceblock!

11/12/2017 10:47pm

Best way to experience adventures is with your besties.

11/12/2017 11:13pm

I've left swimming nowadays because of the cold weather.

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