We killed a chicken!
We first wanted to let you know that we are sorry for not being able to update this blog sooner! Our Internet accessibility is very limited, but we will try to fill you in more frequently with our daily adventures.
Our day began on Friday with attending the daily devotions with the rest of the staff and children of Children of the Nations (COTN) in the assembly hall in the Njewa compound, which is where we are staying for the first 3 weeks. The gap students led the program. These students are in the COTN program but just finished high school and are waiting to go college. They put on a quick skit and led worship, and then the staff had us introduce ourselves to the kids.
In the afternoon, we left The Village (the area we stay in at Njewa) to go to a village called Chilombo that was 45 minutes away where we did a cultural immersion. First, we went to a nearby market that was a food bazaar where we went on a scavenger hunt to buy food supplies for a family that we would be staying with for the rest of the day. We were each paired with a gap student who would help translate, given 2500 Kwachas (around $10), and a list of groceries in Chichewa. It was a very amazing experience that let us gain a glimpse of what was needed for an average Malawian family to be sustained for a week. Some of the items on our list included vegetables, flour, oil, fish, and a chicken. With our plethora of food items, we headed to Chilombo. We split off and head to our separate families in the community with our translator. After taking time to meet the whole family, we were all tasked with helping out with different chores that the family did on a daily basis in order for us to gain a deeper cultural understanding so we can better relate to those we will be serving throughout the trip. In the middle of our chores, we returned to the chief’s house to have lunch that was pizza because the food prepared for us back at Njewa was accidentally spilled en route. Our tasks involved drawing water from the nearby well, hand-washing laundry, cleaning, preparing food, and KILLING A CHICKEN. That’s right, each of us killed the chicken we bought at the market and prepared it for the family. Suffice to say, it was an unforgettable experience for all of us. We finished preparing a traditional Malawian meal with our families with is nsima (Malawian staple food that is a corn meal paste). Our stay at Chilombo ended with saying long good byes to the families that we grew very close to in the short amount of time we had together.
On Saturday, we went to Mgwayi village that is only a 5-minute walk away in the morning to help with construction of the community center that COTN was building. By construction work, it actually ended up being the kids taking over all the work which included moving bricks and shoveling gravel. The children were very elated to work with us so we gladly accepted the help even though we weren’t exactly efficient. We finished early so we had plenty of time to play games with the children.
In the afternoon, we went to Chitipi that is a children’s home run by COTN that housed displaced children that needed full-time care. The home felt very much like a family with a mom and dad that took care of 27 kids with the help of some aunties. We had tour of the grounds that included the house, a block of classrooms, and a farm that COTN uses to supply their compounds. The kids put on a welcoming program that was filled with traditional Malawian song and dance. The parents and kids were extremely welcoming, and we enjoyed getting to play with the kids as we will be visiting them next week. During the welcome program, all of the kids introduced themselves and said their hopes for future occupations, which included being a lawyer, pilot, doctor, nurse, and teacher. The father said it was a blessing to have us visit as we were role models to the children, encouraging them to pursue their dreams.
On Sunday, the team and a number of the COTN staff attended Flood Church, a westernized church that seemed very familiar. The praise and sermon were in English and the team generally thought it was just like a Sunday Service back in the States. However, it was interesting how the message gave us another glimpse into Malawian culture and how drinking alcohol and partying is frowned upon. T he service was actually held in a Chinese restaurant and half of the congregation was Caucasian.
During the second half of the day, we visited Crisis Nursery; a ministry in which babies from newborns to one-year-olds who were unable to be supported by their families are nursed by nannies until they are in good enough health to return to their villages or be adopted. We had the opportunity to hold and play with these children as we gained a better picture of how God is working through this ministry. We were able to hear the unfortunate stories of the babies and see how Crisis Nursery gives them a second chance. All of the babies we loved upon were happy and well-taken care of. It was very encouraging to see how the ministry’s vision is not only a distant goal but actually a present reality.
Today was the first day of our involvement with African Bible College (ABC) Community Clinic. Our team was joined by Alford, one of the wonderful gap students who is planning to study medicine in Malawi. We were divided by our particular fields of interest and assigned to various health care providers. Our two nursing students, Gretchen and Sarah, spent majority of the time taking vitals of patients, in which many showed symptoms of Malaria. Olena, a pre-medicine student, shadowed a doctor from Alabama as he saw and diagnosed patients. She was also able to visit the main hospital with a tuberculosis patient. Alford and Daniel, the other pre-medicine students, each shadowed a Malawian clinical officer who also saw and diagnosed patients. Bryan, the engineer student, helped lab technicians record results from full blood counts and Malaria tests into logbooks and sent the information to the doctors and clinical officers. The day at the clinic ended with a surprise as Alford and Daniel were able to scrub up and witness a live C-Section.
The team has been stretched and consistently amazed at the work being done here. Although we’re still dealing with jet-lag and side effects of anti-Malaria pills, we are pushing through strengthened by love and provisions. We humbly ask for your further prayers toward our team and the people of Malawi. We look forward to further participating in God’s work here.