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Malawi

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MalawiMalawi

A Series on Religion, Part 4: The J-Word

In high school, I learned my kind had a name: Cashews. We were that not-so-rare half-breed, part Catholic, part Jewish. I quibbled with the "sh" sound (shouldn't we really be Cajews?) but mostly embraced the label. In Malawi, however, I have made few attempts to explain that my parents ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

When it becomes more than a photo

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Margaret Quilter

MalawiMalawi

A Series on Religion, Part 3: A Sunday at Church

“You haven’t been to church yet?” Yamikani asked. She looked at me with a mix of disbelief and horror. True, I said—I’d been in Malawi almost a year but hadn’t attended a single service. “Why not?” she asked. I shrugged. “This week,” she said, “you’re ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

A Series on Religion, Part 2: Sex and the Bible

Malawi’s population is overwhelmingly Christian, and conversation often turns to religion. I, unfortunately, seem unable to clamp my maw when talk swerves this way (see Part 1 of this series, in which I discuss my mother’s exit from the Catholic Church). Here is Exhibit B.     As part of ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

Culture/Shock/Waves

As I settle back into Malawi after a brief stint at home, I’ve been giving some thought to what surprised me about these few weeks in the United States. I don’t mean the soul-rocking stuff of true reverse culture shock, but the little things, the numerous tiny adjustments ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

A Series on Religion, Part 1: Of Exoticism and Guilt

From the beginning of my stay in Malawi, I knew religion would prove a sticking point. And indeed, in conversations with both Malawians and with expats, I have said many (many, many) foolish things. I try to tell myself to avoid the topic of religion, but I’ve often broken ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

Tyra, I'm Ready for My Close-Up

Of all the entreaties my skin color provokes — mostly requests for marriage or money — I never thought my pallor might help me snag a modeling contract. Not that I sought one out. (Then again, neither do I ask for the marriage proposals.) But when a white male friend, Maarten, was ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

My Name is What? My Name is Who?

I have never been one for nicknames. As a child, I hated the name Becky, and after meeting a whole string of Beccas I disliked (sorry), that option was out as well. My elementary school soccer coach called me Beckers and my eight grade math teacher dubbed me Jake (because ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

Keeping Pace With The Porters

The World Cup might be the globe’s most sensational sporting event (and how I mourned its completion yesterday, though not as much as I’d bewailed Germany’s semifinal exit at the hands of — ok, header of — Carlos “Giving a Bad Name to Curly Haired People Everywhere” Puyol), but ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

On the Passage of Time

I am unsure how to mark the passage of time in Malawi. I’ve just been spit out of 17 years of academia, with its easy dividing lines, its semesters and exam schedules and holiday vacations. Now I’m in this landlocked country, somewhere between southern and central Africa (Malawi ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

An Island Paradise

Likoma Island is something of an impossible place. It's accessible only by private plane (I met a few South African men who'd flown in) or by the MV Ilala, a ferry that has run up and down Lake Malawi since 1957. This isolation lends the island a distinctive ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

Pointing at Difference and Finding Inclusion

The four young women and I hop from rock to rock, avoiding the sewage that carves dirty channels in the dusty ground. Our narrow path cuts under mango and banana trees and behind mud-and-brick houses, through those in-between spaces where young siblings bathe even younger ones and their mothers chop ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

Six Countries in Six Photos (and a Bonus Video)

My passport received a great deal of ink over the past five weeks. As I mentioned in my last entry, I took off for an ambitious circuit of southern Africa, lasting 35 days and covering more than 4,200 miles (not including wrong turns and various detours). I didn’t ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

Where the Orphans Practice Meditation and Learn Kung Fu

The man wears a wide, bark-strip hat, a long gray robe, and simple pair of sandals. He clutches a mango in one hand and crouches among a group of boys. They chat and laugh together. The man? A practicing Buddhist. The boys? Malawian orphans. Their shared language? Chinese. China is ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

How I Survived My First (and Second) Malawian Wedding

Malawian weddings are marathon affairs. Numerous parties lead up to the day, and smaller celebrations follow the main event. But prior to Saturday, I had only heard about the revelry (and literally heard — the wedding parades honk their way through town, a train of cars parceled up in white and ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

Planning Families After They’ve Already Begun

An oversized spiral-bound book in her hands, Yamikani circles the dilapidated schoolroom. She shows an illustration to each of the young women, 14- to 25-year-olds seated in flimsy plastic lawn chairs. Giggles develop into hoots as the women glimpse the image. They slap each other’s arms. Yamikani joins in ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

I Will Never Be Able To Shake My Rear End Like That

Triza beamed at me with the pride of a fairy godmother. “You’re a real Malawian woman now,” she said, “a real African lady.” She had just bound my chitenje, the traditional fabric wrapper worn by Malawian women. I had yet to purchase my own, but Triza had an extra ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

And To Think The Burning Piles Of Trash Once Attracted My Attention

Five weeks into my yearlong stay in Malawi, I’ve been reflecting on those aspects of life I thought would remain forever foreign but have already become familiar. When my plane landed, I peered out the window and found myself overwhelmed with how tremendously different it all was — the tarmac ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

Gettin’ Down With Nigel, My Eight-Year-Old Zimbabwean Neighbor

After three years in the dorms and one year in a house of 10 women (if you dated any of us, we knew everything about you), living on my own in Malawi has been a surprisingly welcome change. Hold on, who am I kidding? I hardly live alone. There’s ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

Why You Do Not Tell Your Mother About Your Mode of Transportation

“They say no vehicle in Malawi is ever full,” a friend told me last week. Indeed — commuting in Malawi has been a most intimate experience. Though the omnipresent minibuses are designed for 10 or 12 passengers, they typically carry upwards of 16 or 17 folks, not including infants, gargantuan potato-filled ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

Fanning the Flame(s)

The roads of Blantyre are louder than most I’ve navigated — I’m still learning to tune out the honking, which seems the all-purpose method of communication among vehicles. On Saturday, though, the beep-beeping cars and trucks contributed just one voice to the veritable magnum opus of whistles, songs, claps ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

Green Tea and Moon Cakes: This is Africa?

In the film “Blood Diamond,” Leonardo DiCaprio’s character often grumbles a brusque “T.I.A.” — “This is Africa.” Machete-wielding vandals, a nightclub party turned bloodbath, corrupt money dealings — “T.I.A., T.I.A., T.I.A.” I, fortunately, have yet to utter the three letters in any comparable ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

MalawiMalawi

Trafficking in Tobacco

Walking into the vast tobacco auction room, my nostrils feel as if they have entered a hay maze. The smell emanating from the massive burlap sacks is pungent, straw-like, musty. It’s not the aroma of tobacco smoke (though the occasional buyer puffs a cigarette), but of the plant itself ... read more

Rebecca Jacobson

BrazilBrazil

JapanJapan

MalawiMalawi

It's A Big World After All: "Global Lives" Offers Footage Of Ordinary People From Brazil To Japan

How many people in the world are reading a magazine right now? Eating breakfast? Kissing? Trying to imagine everyone's lives at once can be dizzying, to say the least. The "Global Lives" project, the brainchild of former Glimpse contributor David Evan Harris, plays on this experience by filming the ... read more

Glimpse Staff

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