Throwawayism

L to R: Ela, me and them

L to R: Ela, me and the Italians

Everything these Italians own is in that picture, and that doesn’t include me, they didn’t adopt me, I’m not from Malawi.

They were tired of the consumerism they said, so they packed all the stuff they thought was essential into 40kgs and drove off on their motorbike FOR LIFE. I told you about them before, but here’s a reminder just in case. Last I checked they were in India and it seems right now Sri Lanka. They had really amazing stories btw, like how in Greece, they found a man on an island ‘with more goats dan people eh’. This man owned a chicken (‘dea was shit all ova de place eh’), an abandoned house with a small garden for his food and a violin that he used to teach the island kids music with. They stayed with him for months, growing their own food and enjoying the weather they said. Hippies didn’t stop in 1969.

Anyway, 3 photos before I get to the point.

Trash

Trash

Trash

Trash

Trash

More trash

This is trash on the streets, a fridge, a toaster and a blanket. The hippy Italians said they left because they were ‘tired of de consumerism eh?’

The amount of waste in this country is phenomenal, I suppose it’s a 1st world problem- development is pegged on consumption, which is now over-consumption with consumers exposed to endless amounts of stuff they’re told they need .

Having so much stuff means in some cases less innovation. My favourite sandal cut the other day, when I finally found a shoemaker, he said he couldn’t fix it because he ‘didn’t have the right tools’. When my watch strap came off, I couldn’t find someone to fix it, because they were ‘terribly sorry, my dear Watson, we simply don’t have that particular screw‘. If this was Kenya, that guy at the street corner sitting on the floor would find a way to fix the shoe, and that watchmaker on Tom Mboya would rummage around a tiny box full of screws looking for one that could work even if it wasn’t the right one. Because we have less, we are generally more innovative when it comes to solving problems and I guess it means we store more.

*Speaking of watchmakers, there’s one on Moi Avenue, an Indian one, next to Ebrahims  or around there. You know his shop because it’s so tiny when you get in you have to stand really close to him, like you are there to massage him. From experience that guy is dodgy, and he speaks fast,  too fast,  like he’s about to be arrested and he always has stacks of money which he doesn’t hide…he gets more dodgy the more I think about him. I am pretty sure that’s where my apparently very rare watch screw disappeared. #screwhim

Having so much stuff also means you waste a lot. The normal thing to do is not to fix what’s broke, it’s to buy a whole new one. Your fridge is leaking- why not get a new one? Your shoes got muddy, just throw them away – I have actually seen that. The other day I spent a week hiking with a group. I witnessed kama vindeo whole potatoes  being chucked away because small bits were rotten. Food was also thrown away en masse- food that it naturally occurred to me to fridge and eat the next day, and I’m not talking about left-over, I’m talking about the food you leave in the sufuria because you cooked too much. We threw away enough food to feed 15 people for 2 meals, and the next day we cooked from scratch, how inefficient!

It makes me think of the Italians and their 40kg of stuff FOR LIFE. It’s not stinginess, when we try and use only what we really need.

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4 thoughts on “Throwawayism

  1. Anonymous says:

    That’s very bothersome the wasted food. Well in to the italians

  2. Angie Kagume says:

    Great piece. Now in Kenya telling your folks and relas that you are throwing away your stuff to travel (first off, will you even get that visa?), your family would shout `SHETANI ASHINDWE!’ and call for prayers 😛

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow I hear you about the waste. So shocking! And yes the watchmaker dude is weird . I’m always certain he’s out to con me from his little toilet sized premises. Tee hee

  4. Wambui wa Wamz says:

    try looking for a tailor to adjust clothes..non-existent! that place is so weird!

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