Malawi-Day Four

Want picture!

August 1

Yesterday was overwhelming.  We went to Mtsilizta village, about 10 minutes away, and as we rode through the village the kids chased our bus and waved, yelling “Azungu!!” {white person in Chichewa}.  Once we got off the bus, we were immediately swarmed by kids wanting to hug us, hold our hands, and learn our names.  Then we were herded into the schoolhouse where the widows danced and sang for us.  At that my eyes welled up with tears and I had to fight to compose myself.  I couldn’t believe how excited they were to see us—when am I ever that excited to see anyone?  It was incredibly humbling.  Then the kids recited Bible verses and some American sayings before dancing for us some more.  During the dances, all I noticed was how only two of the kids had shoes.  I can’t even imagine.  Then I noticed how those kids moved!  Holy cow!  If our kids danced like that in the states, parents would be in an uproar!

Carly and me on the bus to Cherumbo

So, today we {a smaller subset of our 30 member group} went to Cherumbo village, which is about 30 minutes away by car.  There, Carly and I went to the home of Tamala and her brother Mavuto.  Both of them have problems with their joints; Mavuto’s knees don’t bend and I think Tamala has hip dysplasia.  We spent most of our time in the morning getting to know Mavuto because his mother and sister were busy getting water from the well which is pretty far away.  We had a very sweet translator named Martha who is in the 11th grade; she wants to be a nurse. 🙂

Hezekiah with the chicken

After we spent some time with the family, we got back together with the larger group {Nicole, Katie H., Faith, Sid, Kathy, and Danny, plus translator Steve} to go to the market–another 30 minutes by bus over rough roads.  Martha told us that it takes her two hours to get there on foot and she has to go about twice a week since there is no refrigeration in the villages.  At the market, Carly and I were charged with buying food for dinner for the family; our translators were supposed to provide only minimal assistance, but Martha and Hezekiah did such a good job guiding us and making sure we weren’t ripped off.  They had us hemmed in so that they could keep a really close eye on us.


We got back to the home and started helping with dinner.  We {Carly and I} were supposed to kill the chicken, but we asked our driver, Hope, to do it for us and we were sooo happy when he agreed!  It was our little secret {Steve, I sure hope you’re not reading this!}.  I’m so glad that Hope did it because I was almost sick as I watched and ended up having to turn away.  One of the girls from the village, Anita, asked us if we were sad when watching and we told her no, but it just wasn’t something that we were used to seeing.

Once it was dead, we {or rather, Martha} put it in a pot of boiling water.  Once it boiled for a few minutes she took it out and Carly and I plucked the feathers; they came off so easily {thank goodness!!}.  While we were plucking it, though, I didn’t realize that the head was still attached, so I got a little surprise when I turned it over to pluck the other side.  After that Carly and I chopped some vegetables and cooked those.  It ended up being a really salty dish because they put so much salt in it.  After the veggies we made nsima, which is basically flour and water–it’s pretty tasteless but one of the staples in the Malawian diet because the ingredients are so easy to come by.  In between we washed dishes and chatted.  Martha taught me a new song which, of course, I have already forgotten.  When we were cutting the chicken up we had an anatomy lesson and I told her she got an A+.

Carly, Tamala, her parents, Mavuto, and me

Martha, Carly, and me

It was pretty amazing, but I feel like I should have been more deeply affected… it seems like everyone else is.  What’s wrong with me?

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