Roads less taken, Jo Carroll

I'm home from Malawi, and have begun the process of teasing stories out of the scribbles in my notebooks. For there are stories - of generous, welcoming people who spend three rainy months of the year working their socks off to grow food, and the rest of the time eking out whatever they have grown. There are stories of people starting schools under trees. There are stories of people trying to provide health care with no running water. There are stories off illegal logging and people trying to plant new trees. There are stories of aid agencies, with their baseline studies and conferences. There are stories of lions and hippos and fish eagles.

So you can see why I might be struggling to shape this into some sort of coherence that can hold together in a narrative. Bear with me, I'll get there.

Meanwhile, I think these three pictures illustrate something of my dilemmas.

This is the M1, previously known as the Great North Road. It is the main road north from Lilongwe, the capital. It's much busier further south. Well, if a gaggle of bicycles and a couple of minibuses can be called busy. But who wouldn't want to drive up here to see what you might find?

Or walk along this wooden walkway to see what you might by hiding? But there's a lake nearby, so best keep your eyes open for snakes and crocodiles.

And this path? Has this been made by people? Or animals? It's surely tempting to stroll down here,  binoculars in hand, to look for bulbuls and louries. But be careful: there are jaguars and hyenas here.

Every path has its excitements and its pitfalls. A bit like my stories.


Bill Kirton said…
Lovely, Jo, and you're right, the pictures themselves invite so many stories, especially when seen in sequence like this. It sounds as if you have lots of writing ahead. Good luck with it all.
Fran B said…
Are you the Jo Carroll who wrote 'The Planter's Daughter'? My book group has just finished reading it.
JO said…
Yes, Fran - I am that Jo Carroll. And I've just got the shivers knowing that a book group has read it!!!
Fran B said…
I found it on Kindle and tried it out. Enjoyed it so much I recommended it to the group. Go, Jo!
JO said…
Many, many thanks.

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