Sunday, June 19, 2011
7:30am wake up call. Thank Goodness Katlin and I went to bed at 10:30! I tell ya, there is no sleeping in here. Everyone is up at the crack of dawn, hoping for a better day then next. When I got out of bed this morning, goodness was I sore! It was mostly my back. That horseback riding killed me!
Katlin and I spent most of last night organizing our school supplies and putting together notebooks for the children. We didn’t have enough pounds to spare in our luggage to carry over 100 notebooks for the children but we did decide to use what we have to make them. We folded a piece of construction paper in half and placed 5 folded pieces of paper inside. We hole punched and tied yarn into small notebooks. These actually look similar to the ones a few children already use. We wrote their names on the front and we put a new pen in each! We also have name tags for the first day so we can get to know the children each. Boy, some of their names are hard to say! Fingers crossed I can get that one down!!
After breakfast, we walked into town for church. The mass was at a Presbyterian Church that started at 9:00. It was in English, which was nice, and it was very similar to Presbyterian Church at home (at least that what the girls said who are Presbyterian). For the offering of the gift, they called individuals by district to come to the alter and present their gifts. Lastly, they called visitors. We were the only twenty some white folks so they all starred at us. We walked to the alter and offered some gifts. I noticed that there were large bags of maze that people offered to the church instead of kwacha. I thought that was interesting. Dr. Kelly explained that people let the church sell their crops, so the church can use the money to sustain itself. The priest was shocked by our presence and asked a “representative of the visitors” to come up and introduce the group. Dr. Kelly ran up and explained to the people who we were, for how long and why. Everyone was so curious! Some asked questions and she answered. After mass we were welcomed by many parishners with big smiles and we were even invited to the priest’s house later in the month! These people are so nice.
The rest of today was meant for rest. Nothing was really open and Malawians take their religion very seriously. We had class with Dr. Kelly in the afternoon to learn more about the culture and prepare for school in the morning. Some interesting things I gathered:
- Nsima (good corn maze) is considered a major part of the Malawian diet. They feel like they must have it everyday. Most considered that they haven’t eaten (even if they have) if they don’t have nsima. But the way they grind it up and cook it here sucks out most of the nutritional value. Therefore, its not even benefitting the people a great deal.
- Children are considered orphans when their mother dies, regardless if their father is living or not.
- Rape is extremely prevalent in Malawi. It is part of their culture and considered normal. At a certain age, young girls are de-flowered by the chief of their villages. The chief believes that all the young girls are his.
- The major highway throughout Malawi spread AIDS throughout the small country.
- There is a myth that HIV and AIDS will be cured if you sleep with a virgin. That is why most young children are infected here.
- Africa has over 2000 languages and Malawi has about 17. It is so hard to organize people in Malawi because of this. The way most people connect is through dance and song.
- Lucius Banda is a famous musician that fought politicians and injustice through his music. His song speak of the poverty and unequal opportunities for the people of Malawi along with the corruption of the government.
I hope you all enjoyed a little culture J I know it was random (When I write fast I have an unorganized train of thought).
I am excited for our first day of teaching tomorrow, but nervous at the same time though! Please say some prayers for us.
I would post pictures but with limited Internet, it’s just takes too long! I promise to share them with you all when I get back. Although, the pictures I have do not fully allow you to experience the children of Malawi. The pictures do not show the holes in their over worn clothes. They do not show that most children have swollen stomachs because they are malnourished. They do not show that most do not have shoes on their feet. These pictures just show their smiles and the light in their eyes. Think about if we all had this attitude.
Love to all,