At the San Diego Wild Animal Park which we visited later that week I saw

At the san diego wild animal park which we visited

This preview shows page 111 - 112 out of 126 pages.

At the San Diego Wild Animal Park, which we visited later that week, I saw giraffes, hippos, elephants, rhinos, monkeys, and more. You know, half an hour east of my village was Kasungu National Park, and a couple hours west was Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, where many of those same animals roamed and played. I’d never been to either place. Instead, I’d traveled ten thousand miles to see them in America. This made me laugh. Early the next day, we drove through the desert to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, which was an endless maze of toys and cool gadgets, many of them using low-power technology, such as solar-powered LED lamps, a Bluetooth headset that hooks over your ear and recharges your phone from the sun, and Freeplay radios powered by a crank that never need batteries. That night, we stayed in Treasure Island Hotel, where jackpots of cars and other prizes are given away all night long and women in their underpants serve free soda. Standing there on the casino floor amid the blinking lights, as fountains of money spilled from the machines to the sound of sirens, I had to remind myself to breathe. “You having fun?” Tom asked, shouting over the noise. “Yah,” I said, smiling big. “Great.” But really, all the stimulation from the past week was too much for my brain to process, so I drifted back to the one place I knew. I stood there at the base of my machine, then scaled the tower rungs—slowly, one by one, feeling the soft wood creak beneath my bare feet, so smooth and warm in the sun. From the top, I looked out onto the country I loved—across the vast green fields and craggy slopes of the highlands, which sent a familiar breeze through the valley and whipped the blades behind me. Later that night as I lay in bed, I let that daydream spin me off to sleep, the white noise of the machinery like a song my mother would sing. I went to sleep dreaming of Malawi, and all the things made possible when your dreams are powered by your heart. T HAT VISION OF HOME was a place in my mind where I retreated often while traveling in America. It was always the same, and each time I went there, it brought a warm, pleasant feeling. But not long after that night in Vegas, I found myself staring out onto a near-identical landscape of home as my dream—green rolling flatland, mountains on the horizon, draped in bright blue sky. Except I wasn’t in Malawi—I was in Palm Springs, California. And in that empty space between me and the hills, there suddenly appeared miles of windmills, more than six thousand of them, shooting from the earth like a giant forest of mechanical trees. The true dimensions of the machines revealed themselves once we pulled into one of the wind farms. There, I seemed to lose my sense of scale. The round white trunks of the turbines were like cartoons I’d seen on television, so wide they could swallow my family’s entire house.
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  • Spring '18
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