Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Things I Will and Will NOT Miss

As I sat in the London Heathrow Airport waiting for my flight, I wrote a list of things I will miss and not miss about Malawi.

I will NOT miss…

…risking my life every time we walked somewhere.  Malawians are crazy drivers and always speed through our neighborhood, despite all the school children walking home.

…being squeezed onto a minibus.  Minibuses were made to seat 14 people, however, 20 was usually the lucky number.   

…the constant obnoxious honking.  Malawian drivers are obsessed about hearing their own horn.  I wondered what would happen if all the horns were taken out, well, I found an answer a couple days later when I saw a car with an air horn taped to the window sill, yeah.    

…being called “Mama” when walking in town.  “I’m not your mother!”

…women breastfeeding anywhere and everywhere at any time.  (I just never get used to that) 

…Malawian vehicles that are always falling apart!

            Story number 1:  Getting off a minibus is never graceful and this day I had to balance my backpack and a grocery bag as I climbed out.  I rested my hand on the side of the bus as I stepped down to steady myself and the whole door popped off the track!  I felt really bad! “Pempani (I’m sorry), Pempani!”  People were laughing.  Thankfully, Francis explained to me that it was no big deal and that it happened all the time.  Go figure it would happen to me!

            Story number 2:  We took Miles, our friend and taxi driver, to Mt. Mulange.  On our way there one of the back seat windows gave us some troubles.  First it would not go down, then a little while later it decided to go down by itself.  Well, once we parked the car the stupid window would not go up, so Miles had to pull the whole door apart to get the widow to go up.  All us ladies could do was stand by and try not to laugh too hard at how typical the situation was. 

…the confusing currency or balancing my finance book.  (Kelsey, can I get an Amen?!)

…the mosquitoes!!! The sound they make in your ear, teasing you, is utterly obnoxious and they are fast little boogers!

I will miss…

…my African Mama Maribeth and my sister Kelsey. 

…the Team.
            Paul’s singing, Simon’s videotaping, Yamikani’s “Oh, thank God!” ‘s, Abbie’s sweet heart, and James’ goofiness.

…the Montessori Teachers.

…the beautiful view from our backyard.

…the orange African sunset.  It truly gives the color orange a new vibrancy, a new life.

…singing with the children at the Montessori School.  The song “Father Abraham” will always be special. 

…being able to get fresh baked bread at any and every corner.

…surprising people on the streets by greeting them in Chichewa.

…getting the sick children in the orthopedic, oncology, and Moyo ward to smile and laugh.

…walking everywhere.

…the beauty of Malawi.  The variations of bright green, the good weather, and the tropical bird noises. 

Frances’ weekly Chichewa lessons.

…Silvester, our cat, though he was a pill.

…Arnold and his beautiful family.

…Maribeth’s baked goodies, they were all delicious but the banana bread had no competition!

…the great chats the 3 of us had during dinner and often afterwards as well.  “Ona!!” *squirt!!!

…the staff parties! The food, the singing, the laughs! Great times!

…looking into the eyes of a Malawian baby and seeing your reflection in their big black eyes. 

…the great meals we always made for dinner. 

…the street boys.  I love them all and they hold a special place in my heart. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Today is the day I am flying home, I am leaving Malawi.  I honestly can not believe it is over so soon.  I feel like I just got here, yet I know that in the time I have been here, I have changed so much.  I have spent this morning packing last minute things and zipping up my big suitcases.  I still can not believe I am going. 

I am not happy, but I am.  I am not happy to be leaving all my dear friends here, who have become my second family.  I am not happy to be leaving this lifestyle that I have become comfortable living.  I am not happy to be leaving this beautiful country in Africa.  I am happy because I am going home.  It has been two months and I am ready, I had a great time here, but I am ready.  I am happy at the thought of seeing my family and friends soon. 

Now, here comes the tough part.  Maribeth, Kelsey and the whole Team are taking me to the airport.  I am not worried about flying by myself; I know God will take care of me.  The tough part is saying goodbye to these people I love. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Today was busy and bitter sweet.  It was my last full day in Malawi, which is sad.  I spent the whole morning packing and cleaning.  Then I we went to the school to say goodbye to the kids and teachers.  That was definitely harder than I thought it would be.  Tisu announced to the kids that Madame Becca had to leave tomorrow and gave them a chance to say something to me.  A lot of the kids said that they loved me, will miss me and that they hope I have a safe flight and come back soon.  It was really sweet.  Then they had me sit in the middle of their circle and they prayed for me, which meant a lot.  After the prayer they sang a song that said something like goodbye is not forever, we will meet again.  I totally cried, I was trying not to, but I did.  Once the kids were dismissed most of them came up and gave me a hug.  Then, I had to say goodbye to the teachers, which was even harder, they said sweet things and I got teary eyed saying goodbye to each one. 

Once we came home I did more organizing, packing, and cleaning.  I am so sad to be leaving this beautiful place but I am also happy to be seeing my friends and family back home soon. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today was my last day serving at Queens.  Kelsey and I met up with Abbie in the morning and visited the kids in the orthopedic wards.  I brought my camera with me and as soon as the kids saw it, they wanted their picture taken.  I should have brought the camera in sooner because it made them all excited and happy and when I showed each child their picture they laughed and laughed!  It was a lot of fun!


After being in the wards, we went to some of the covered patios and read to the guardians.  Abbie and I read the story of the prodigal son and the adults enjoyed it.  They were very appreciative that we would take the time to read to them.  They were also very interactive, which was nice.  Yamikani joined our group a short time later and we read to some more guardians around the Moyo ward. 

We ended our work at Queens early so that we could take Abbie into town for lunch.  It was fun to go out, just us three girls to celebrate my last day at Queens.  We went to a new restaurant Kelsey and I had not gone to before, it wasn’t the cleanest, but the food was good.  We had a nice time. 

Once we finished lunch Kelsey and I went to the South African Airline office and confirmed my flight.  Everything is still on track and looking good.  After that we ran some last minute errands and I enjoyed my last trip in town. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Today was good but difficult.  This morning I taught the Street Boys and it was crazy.  I had 20 boys in my class and the young girl from two weeks ago.  The boys were rowdy to begin with, and then the young girl started causing trouble.  Whatever she was saying in Chichewa made the boys irritated and they antagonized her, at one point she violently grabbed one of the smallest boys and three other boys started attacking her.  The two people helping me and I had to pull the boys away and get all the boys settled down.  Then, it happened again, only five or six boys attacked her and again we had to pull them all away.  It was not good.  We started singing a song in Chichewa to calm them all down because even the boys who where still seated where yelling and going crazy.  After the song she grabbed the same boy for the third time and ALL the boys went at her.  It was a full on fight in the Sunday school classroom!  I flew so fast through the door separating Maribeth’s classroom from mine and told Maribeth that the young girl needed to leave.  Then I helped pull kids out of the fight.  Once fists stopped flying Maribeth and one of the pastors tried to get her to leave, but she refused.  So, we moved all the little boys into the other classroom with the bigger boys for safety.  The older boys lead their own program and once one of the boys started preaching, I could tell the little ones were getting antsy, so I moved them into the main worship room.  Even though the worship team was practicing their songs for the service, it worked out fine.  I passed out little books we made about Jesus being the Good Shepherd and how we are his sheep and they colored it.  By the time it came around for the boys to have their snack, the girl had moved into the lobby and Maribeth and Laurette where with her.  The boys got their snack and then left. 

Unfortunately, once they left the classroom and went out into the lobby and started antagonizing the young girl again.  I tried to get them to leave her alone a couple of times but there were too many of them.  Finally a couple of the pastors got the boys to leave.  And eventually the young girl left as well.  Maribeth told me later that the young girl was possessed and that she and Laurette spent the whole time holding the girl and praying for her.

After everything that had happened in the past hour and a half I had trouble switching gears for church.  I tried my hardest to listen to the sermon but my mind was preoccupied.  My heart was heavy for all those little boys and that young girl.  It was my last Sunday with them before I have to leave to go back home and as of yet nobody has stepped up to help.  These boys are really dear to my heart and it is really hard to leave them when they have no leader.  I am praying God will provide somebody to step up and love these boys or bring me back soon.  These boys need a mommy figure to teach them about Jesus. 

Once church ended we went out to lunch and had our Chichewa lesson.  It was my last lesson and I am disappointed.  It is pretty simple to learn and it’s a beautiful language. 

After the lesson, we went to the curio place to buy some souvenirs and gifts and then we came home.  The curio place is crazy because there are a dozen men talking to you at once trying to get you to look at their stuff and buy it.  When I tried to look at something they all got in my face to show me their item, which is exactly the same.  Each stand had the same things and they were all competing for my attention and money.  As I tried to talk to Maribeth and buy something they all stood around us all talking to me at once, “Madame, Madame.”, “Look at this.”, “Come look at my stand.”  It was quite crazy! I was happy to get out of there quickly!

After that, we came home.  Today was one big over stimulating day and on top of that I was really sad to be leaving the street boys.  I cried because I do not want to leave those boys, I love them so much.  At the same time, I know I will be back and I must trust God, that He will take care of them.     

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today was fun!  Maribeth, Kelsey and I had a good morning getting stuff done around the house.  It has rained for three days straight and we all desperately needed to do our laundry.  So, we took advantage of the nice, sunny morning to do our laundry and hang it outside to dry. 

Once we finished our laundry, we ran into town and got a few quick things done before going to Anansa’s house for lunch.  Anansa’s house is very pretty and we had a fun time eating lunch and socializing.  After that we went home and had a relaxing evening. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Today was really great!  This morning we went to the school and had a quick meeting with the ABC Team.  Then, Tisu and Abbie came back to the house with us to help us cook for the staff party/meeting this afternoon.  It was fun chopping veggies and sifting through rice with the women.  The team arrived a short time later and we did the Holy Spirit Bible study we have been going through.  Once the study was over we ate.  The dinning room table was filled with delicious food and we all dug in! The food was just as good as our first party! 

After lunch, we had our staff meeting.  Yamikani was officially announced as the project leader for the hospital, which is a blessing.  We are all excited for him to become the team’s hospital Abusa.  Then, Maribeth reminded the team that I am leaving and gave everyone the opportunity to say something to me.  They all had something to say and it was very sweet.  I was choking back tears, but I really appreciated it.  The team has become my Malawian family, they are all incredible people and I am going to miss every single one of them dearly. 

Once they left, I cleaned the floors.  When Malawians eat, food flies everywhere!  I actually enjoyed sweeping and mopping because it gave me some time to process through my emotions and think.  Leaving Malawi is way tougher than I imagined.