Malawi First Impressions

Mwadzuka bwanji – Good Morning – in the local language Chichewa.

We have only been in Malawi for 4 days and already we feel so welcome and so at home. Malawi really is “the warm heart of Africa”. The first thing that immedietely stands out is just how genuinely friendly the people are.

We arrived mid morning Friday where we were picked up from the airport by Royie who heads up the Malawi team and made the 2hr drive from Lilongwe airport to Dedza town that is now home for the month. After initial introductions at the Service Centre, we were taken to our accommodations (the Rainbow Guesthouse) and left to rest for the afternoon/evening. We were exhausted from travelling all through the night via Nairobi!

After a good sleep in we arose Saturday morning ready to explore! Mariah and I walked the length of the one main street checking out shops and making friends with all the shop keepers. As the only 2 white people in town people seem to have one of two reactions – they either just stare at us for an uncomfortably extended period of time or they come up and introduce themselves. The kids often run up to us too and cuddle our legs. Very cute!

We spent the afternoon on Saturday with Ivy who works for Hands in the Service Centre. She took us to the market to purchase supplies for dinner! We picked up cabbage, carrots, onions, tomatoes, apples, eggs and rice. Food here is very basic! A typical dinner for us is cabbage and rice. Tonight we will have eggs and tomatoes. Simple living 🙂 I look forward to more shopping at the market. I will try to post a picture too next time we visit.

Sunday morning we went to church with Ivy and her family to the local Assembilies of God church. The funny moment of the service occured 2hrs in after much singing and dancing when the pastor then announces “now we will begin worship”!! Let’s just say 4hrs later we were finished church! The entire service was in the local language Chichewa, so Ivy’s husband would translate pieces of the message throughout the service. I have to say however that even with a language barrier, its so wonderful to be able to worship with Gods body/the church on the opposite side of the world! And African worship is just beautiful! I really love it!

After church we visited with an amazing lady in her 60s who has had a really tough life. She lost both her husband and son in car accidents within one month of each other approx 12 yrs ago. She went from having everything and being totally financially secure, to having nothing and no income and being totally dependent on the goodness of friends for her daily survival. She has also been left paralysed by a stroke and can barely walk. Her friends pay for her maid, pay her bills and provide money for food, however she often goes hungry for days at a time. It was so humbling for her to share her lunch with us. And the love she has for God and trust in him is so evident and inspiring. She does not have much and yet is so generous with what she does have. We live just up the road from her, so will drop by regularly to visit her while we are here.

Its now Monday evening. We have spent the day in the Service Centre office with the team. We started the day with a beautiful devotion led by Royie and then proceeded with reviewing the prior weeks activities and setting the agenda for the coming week.

Tomorrow we are headed for our first community stay in Mngwere. We will spend 3 days, 2 nights sleeping out in the community with a family. The community is over the mountain approx 12km away. Our mode of transport to the community will be a bicycle taxi! We are excited for the experience and is a very common form of transport here. Will be sure to take pictures!

Anyway will sign off for now, typing on the blackberry is challenging 🙂 (please excuse typo’s)

Loving Malawi and looking forward to sharing more stories from community stay when we are back! 🙂