Last Friday had been a fairly regular day as I got my bag together to go to the market. Enjoying the moments of sunshine, I was happy to venture outward, ready to try out some of my new Chichewa. As soon as I got out of my compound, a monkey began running towards me. Immediately I froze while thoughts raced through my head: “What do I do”, “They never trained us for this”, “What is it’s rabid”, “What is the best way to fight a monkey” (I had been watching a lot of action movies lately and was fairly certain I could hold me own). Fortunately for the monkey and myself, the monkey hopped into a tree. As it perched there, I swung my head around to make sure I was not the only one this was happening to.
Someone caught my eye on the other side of the fence; he reassured me that the monkey was safe and domesticated. Of course he would say that when he had no chance of being attacked. Just then a man ran around the corner calling for the monkey. The monkey must not have been ready to go as it jumped out of the tree and made a b-line towards me. Settling down on the fence beside me, it seemed as if he wasn’t done messing around. Just then he stared at me; it was like he was waiting for a picture.
As I began to venture back towards the market, it hit me – that feeling. You continue walking, your body feels lighter, and you can see yourself there in that moment. You know you will remember that moment for ages to come. It is one of those “Wow. I’m actually in Africa. I’m actually doing this.” moments. As my thoughts rejoined my body, I laughed out loud and said, “Well, this is Africa”.