I’m starting to anticipate the question “So, how was Malawi?”, so I decided to plot things out for clarity.
Note that no quantitative rigor was applied to the production of this chart.
- On the whole, things were better than I expected. There aren’t a lot of things in the “surprisingly bad” area, and most the things that I expected to be bad weren’t as bad as I thought.
- Goat liver was the worst expected item, but turned out not to be too bad. Mosquitoes, specifically the ones that make their way inside my bednet and buzz around my ears at 3 a.m., are just awful.
- I still haven’t decided about work, which made it onto all four quadrants.
- I would stay in Malawi forever for the tomatoes.
- There’s a lot that didn’t make it onto the list. Grass huts, machine guns, and disease didn’t make the list because they haven’t been part of my experience. Poverty, power, and loneliness aren’t on the chart because they demand a much more nuanced analysis, and I’m still figuring out what I’ve learned. I doubt I’ll ever get to a resolution that can be plotted in two dimensions.
Finally, stay tuned for when I make another one of these in six months: “Marriage, Expectations vs. Reality”