Thursday, 31 July 2008

Universal Language

Muli Bwanje.

No internet in the Lower Shiree as I expected, they said they were going to fix it but, as with many things in this country, people don't keep to their word...not in a truly deceitful way but they just forget about it and don't bother! Coming to fix it today I'm told!

So I'm currently stopping over at Blantyre, Torch House, for an hour or so before going on up to Balaka to visit some more people. We've visited Chindole, Umodzi, Masandoku, Livunzu and next Balaka so far, has ben good to meet the blind people and other villagers and share Jesus with them! People sing so good here, they just stand up and all start singing in four parts, is great fun! In Livunzu yesterday, we met another orphanage and gave out the shoe boxes that people send things in. Was the first present of their lives, the first toys of their lives, the first pencils and paper of their lives, and the change in expression on their face was magical. I spent the afternoon going round with them explaining what Snakes and Ladders, Naughts and Crosses and Connect 4 were. The most challenging part was explaining what a tissue was to one child who didn't quite know what to do with it. To think that tissues of all things are a complete luxury to some of these people is hard to imagine when we have our boxes littered around our houses.
Done some clinics also, most people complain of belly ahce, which I'm reliably informed is worms; 120 people went away with worm medicine! A lot went away with vitamins and paracetamol for various problems and a few come with serious wounds, for example, the welder's brother last night came with burns from toe to knee, not a pretty sight. No-one can afford to go to the hospital here so a lot of people will stay at home with wounds rotting or infections getting worse, it's really sad in some cases. Thankfully we have been donated money we can put towards medicines for these people. When Janet comes (she is a trained nurse) people literally flock from miles around to come and be treated, rumour spreads fast I'm told!

Staying at Lapson's in Konzere is really good. The heirarchy is so structured too...but I'll leave that for another post! I get good three meals a day, usually almost the same but it's better than a lot of peoople in Malawi! Rice, beef, potatos, nshima (common maize food which I eat with BBQ sauce!) and a freshly picked banana! My clothes are washed daily too...I miss my showers (I have a cup and a bucket at the moment) and I'm not keen on the squat dump (I'm sure you can imagine what that is!) The kids are real special, they're wicked fun! Played football, cricket, bizu bizu ngogo, hyena and the hen, hokey-cokey (their favourite!) and each evening we sit together, sing songs and have a bit of a communal teaching. It's really nice. I've done a bit of teaching maths and english, a bit of music but only when I have time, I'm out til 3 at least usually.

I've realised about three universal languages here so far. Number one being music. Music is so good here in Malawi, everyone joins in and everyone is loving it! I've spent some time teaching the recorder to some kids; its different to teaching in England because at least in England the kids have some conception of what a recorder is. In Malawi, first you must help them to understand what it is and that blowing through it makes a noise and covering holes changes pitch. It's a tough challenge but I think we're getting somewhere! Also, the percussion I've brought has been well received, the kids are loving the shaking eggs! I've been playing guitar with them too which has been wicked fun.
Number two is football. I played a match for Konzere FC on Saturday, honorary right winger, and did not too bad, they all said I was good! Lasted for 50 minutes I think before I died and had to come off, ached for days haha! It's such a fast game, couldn't quite keep up. But even the little kids play football, I've taught cricket too and they love most of all the Hokey-Cokey!
Number three is Jesus Christ. It's amazing to see how little some of these Africans have and yet how thankful they are to God that he has kept them alive with clothes and food. I read one verse in the Bible this week, in one of the epistles, that said: 'We come into this life with nothing. We take out of this life nothing. So to have food and clothes is gain!' I think we can all learn from this, I know I have.

Still can't get pictures up here but I think I may be able to when we get connected in Konzere, so keep your eyes peeled! If not, I'll put them all up once I get home (in my 8 or 9 hours before I jet off to Slovenia).

So, I'm on my way to Balaka at the moment, will be staying there for two nights, visiting some groups and then on Saturday going to Lilongwe to meet Sam and Andy who will be leaving tomorrow! Followed by a 5 or 6 hour journey back down to Konzere. Will be fun!

Thankyou for prayers and support, keep visiting the blog and don't be scared to text me to keep me company, it's the normal price of a text!