Saturday, June 28, 2008
Yesterday was another manual labor day...but oh so rewarding. For breakfast yesterday we were served rice pohla - which is exactly like the baby food rice we give our babies at 3-6 months of age. But, with a bit of sugar and cinnamon it's not so bad.
After breakfast 1/2 the team went to finish painting the clinic and 1/2 the team went to the next village up the hill - Williamsville - to work at the catholic run school in that village. The school was in better shape than the Zoomba School, but the classrooms were exactly the same - cement floors, nothing but a chalkboard, and each room STUFFED with bodies.
Yes, I was a part of the group that went to the school. Our job was to move bricks from their drying place to one big neatly stacked pile. These bricks were 1/2 the size of the bricks we moved the other day, so while they were heavy, the job wasn't as difficult as the work we did the other day.
We were done moving bricks by about 10:45 or 11:00 in the morning. After that we did the Noah skit for the students, shared testimonies, and left to head back to camp. When we left many, many children followed us - holding our hands, talking a bit, and laughing. I wondered...were they given permission to leave? Are the school hours undefined and flexible? There are always children around us, but seldom adults. No one seems to be worried about the welfare of the children (at least not in the way we worry here in the states), but they seem to go home each night and make it back to school each day. It turns out that yes, the students were told they could leave school and spend as much time with us as they wanted. You see, the Headmaster believed that spending time with the Americans was in and of itself a great opportunity to learn. I love that holistic approach to learning.... not all books, and tests, and drills, and facts, but learning through relationships. Aahhhh...what a concept.
We had peanut butter sandwiches (well, one sandwich) for lunch (again), and then we had a bit of free time to rest. It was nice to just veg. By the way...the white bread we use for our sandwiches is called, "Super White" and it is soft and oh so good. The "Super Brown" bread is good too, but one of the locals sells the white bread and we buy our supply from him, so we eat more Super White. Around 2:30 a group of us headed back to the football field. The guys played football (soccer), as did a couple of the girls. The rest of us played with the kids. We taught several kids how to throw a Frisbee, as they had never seen a Frisbee before. Some of them were quite good! The children know the song, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", so that's a fun song to sing with them.
On the way back from the football field I chatted with a local who is a Seventh-Day-Adventist. We talked Sabbath, Campmeeting, and Vegetarianism. He has three sons and teaches at an Evangelical College. He spoke very good English.
For dinner we had rice, greens, and a stew made of soy meat. Everyone loved it. For me...it tasted like a Seventh-Day-Adventist potluck - like being 12 years old again :)
Last night during worship John shared with the team about the Spiritual attack that had gone on in the guy's room. Apparently a few of the guys woke up and saw a presence hovering over David. It is clear Satan is on the prowl and I am praying for peace! We are lucky that the girls have not had to endure any of these "visits".
We read Psalm 34 over and over and everyone crawled into bed - unafraid and ready for a good night's sleep.
It's morning now and everyone seems fine. Unfortunately however, Gina is very sick - chills, nausea, and fever. Perhaps we should postpone the hike we have planned for another day.
**Later in the evening....**
We did do the hike today up Mount Mulangi. It was strenuous, but well worth it! I had a lot of difficulty breathing and was so grateful that Nic had an inhaler for me to use. I was reacting to all the eucalyptus trees, I'm sure. Without the inhaler I'm not sure I would have made it to the top. I was REALLY struggling to catch my breath. That was really the first time I've had what I would call a real asthma attack! Note to self…next you go to Africa – bring an inhaler of your own!
The waterfall was so beautiful and the pool of water into which it fell was very deep and SO cold. All the kids jumped off a rock about 1/2 way up the mountain wall into the pool. I pretty much stayed out of the water, as it was just TOO cold.
Five of the boys were baptized. My mommy heart broke because Josh Olford was baptized, but Catherine (his mom) wasn't there to see it. Catherine stayed back at camp with Gina because Gina was just so sick. Since Catherine had been up the mountain before, she decided to stay with Gina. Catherine asked Gia to take photos for her if Josh decided to get baptized (a decision she didn't now whether or not he'd made). Chris is supposed to be videotaping everything, but when he got the camera out he realized the batteries were dead (and there is no electricity with which to re-charge at the camp). Luckily, I had the "flip" with me and was able to tape the baptism. Catherine was able to watch it when we got back to camp.
On our way out of Mulanji Park, we met up with a group of kids form England and Ireland who are doing mission work here in Malawi. We had seen them on the trail earlier - they were coming down as we were going up. They still had such a long way to go to get back to their camp, so we offered them a much-appreciated ride.
The English/Irish group had been in Malawi for 11 weeks and they had another 6 weeks or so to go. The girls on our team were swooning over the boys' accents :)
The truth that continues to hit me on a daily basis is that God HATES gossip, slander, lies about others, etc... There is NO excuse for the things that have been said to and about my family - period! To the people who shunned us - you missed out on the privilege of praying for my family and YOU missed out on the privilege of being a first hand witness to a miracle. Seeing Gia out here and watching her do what she does is nothing short of a miracle and I am incredibly privileged to watch her and so lucky to be her MOM!!! :)