Ah ha! I figured out the mysterious quirk in uploading videos! Yesterday I skyped with my friend Tim. At the end of last summer, Tim and I met up for green tea at my favorite coffee shop and dreamed up adventures for this summer. We both desired to be used of God and we both wished to touch foreign soil. As of today, Tim left from England (the place that he's staying for the next 3 months of his summer-long internship with a Christian architecture ministry) and headed for Liberia! We both found our adventure -- and in the first month of summer too! God is so cool. Anyways, while I was skyping with Tim, he helped me figure out my problem... are you ready for this? Apparently my videos average 350+ megabytes (which I didn't understand but he explained it to me as a really, really large space eater) and most sites -- like youtube, or in my case blogspot, have a 100mb cap on them. Needless to say, the video diaries that I did at the end of every day won't make it on here (so sad!). BUT, if you have skype, and really want to see my cheesiness unleashed, then we can definitely screen share and I would love to show them to you!
Wednesday May 19th ~ Second day in Chikudzulire.
Today began like every other day, with a hearty breakfast and morning devotions, and progressed into the hour long drive for the village. Our goal for today was the same as yesterday, to go and serve the people of Chikudzulire. On our way there in the morning, we stopped by the side of the road and purchased sugar cane *side note, if you haven't experienced the joy of eating sugar cane and turning into a sticky mess, you're so missing out! Look for it in specialty food stores!* We had fun driving down dirt roads and spitting our used up cane out the window! :) Upon arrival to the village, we were again greeted by the welcoming committee and joined them in song and dance. Here is a snip-it from my journal entry that day -- sharing this is something I haven't ever done before, my journal is typically really private, so I hope you enjoy!
"One thing that has really stood out to me here, in our times of worship and rejoicing, is that these people, the villagers, have nothing -- literally nothing -- and yet they seem so full. Their hearts are filled with joy and their tongues with song. How fragrant their worship must be to the Lord. After seeing that today, I was convicted that God's grandness has been lost in the process of all of the stuff in my life. May I not lose sight of You, when it is well with me. My prayer is that my heart may be flooded with brokenness so that I might be zealous, passionate and dependent on God alone. Mercy, grace, hope, life; may they come from the Father, and may I walk in them all the days of my life."
After an hour or so of festivities, we had some down time to just be with the people. I chose to go and spend time with the women, who were sitting in the shade up against the community center which Mission Community helped build. Even though we had different skin colors, and had obvious barriers in the realm of language, I was able to communicate with the women for a little over an hour. I learned all of their names and learned a few other tidbits of information -- like when they wave by touching their fingertips to the base of their palms, it means come to me now. So when I would wave to little kids like that -- meaning to say hello in English, I was really summoning them to come to me. No wonder the small children would take off in the opposite direction crying! That, and a common discipline tool that the parents use is threatening the little children that "the white people (Azungus) will come and eat you if you don't behave." The Somebody Cares staff filled me in on this nugget of information! ha!
(This man -on the right- so kindly gave us a beat for every song! Too bad I can't even clap on beat at church!)
While sitting with the women, I met one lady in particular that I really enjoyed. Her name was Margaret, and her son, a small toddler, laid in her arms for the entire time visibly and audibly sick. He was struggling to breathe and seemed to be fighting some serious disease. When a translator walked by, I was able to use their assistance and Margaret shared with me -- through the translator -- that her son had come down with Malaria and was really sick. After asking a few questions, I gathered that it takes money to have a child treated for Malaria, and in addition to that, it takes transportation to a hospital. Because these luxuries were not available to her, she would just hold him and hope to offer him comfort. That made my heart sad, but I transitioned my sadness into petitioning. Remember how I talked about the African (Malawian) way of prayer?? How they don't ask for things??? The only exception to this that I found was praying for healing. One local explained petitioning to me like this: "prayers are for offering up thanks, petitioning is for telling God that we acknowledge the current circumstances and we refuse to accept them." The one thing the locals love to petition for is healing. So, being true to their ways, Margaret let me lay hands on her son and petition for healing. It was a special time.
(Margaret is in the red -- at the end of our 2 weeks, her son was fine. No longer sick.)
Another special moment of my day occurred shortly thereafter, when I left the women on the side of the building and went to the back where the children play on the swing set. They mostly stared at me and smile, except for the little ones who thought that I was going to eat them -- they hid behind bushes and siblings. Out of a spirit that so wanted to earn their trust, I decided that it would be best to just sit -- in the dirt, in my skirt -- in the middle of their playground. It wasn't long after I had been sitting that I soon had a crowd. Next thing you know, I had over 40 kids sitting around me, forming a circle. I felt like I had lost at duck-duck-goose and was placed in the melting pot! I was now engorged in African children and couldn't have been happier. Shortly after this, I realized that they were expecting me to do something cool. "Uh oh" I thought to myself, "their anticipation will shortly wear off and the reality of how boring Azungus can be will soon set in if I don't do something!" So, with nothing to offer them but myself, I decided to teach them some songs.
(This is what the average hut looks like -- note that roofing is made out of anything they can salvage. They make bricks by digging for clay, mixing it with dirt and water, forming masses in their hands, placing them to dry on long strips of hand cut wood, and then they light the wood on fire to cure the bricks. Ingenious I thought!)
I covered everything from Jesus Love Me to Deep and Wide, from the B-I-B-L-E to When the Saints go Marching In(and put clapping to them). They were entertained, but mainly it seemed as if they thought I was just strange. I then decided to switch up tactics and I tried some dancing. Father Abraham, Chicken Dance, Hokie-pokie anyone? My attempt could have made it on the fail blog... I was losing them, and fast! The only thing I had left to offer was the Macarena. Lame, i know. But wouldn't you know that out of all of the bible songs I tried to teach them, and even out of the dances, this was the one they loved the most?? For the remainder of the day, kids would come up to me doing the dance and humming "duh da da da da duh duh da da da da duh duh duh duh da da da da da da da da HEY MACARENA EIII"
(On this particular day in the village, January, a proactive youth leader, gave each member of our team a Chichewa name. Mine means memory and for the rest of the trip, I was known as Chiki.)
It was enough to make me smile. :) The day ended with 75-100 additional people being outfitted with prescription eye glasses and it was quite the sight! A new phenomenon that we quickly ran into was the people's noncompliance with wearing the glasses. Someone would come, have their vision assessed, be outfitted with quality glasses, smile with excitement as though they had never seen the words of the bible before, thank us, turn around, walk away and remove their glasses. They would carry their glasses between their palms, covered like a frog that was at AWOL risk, and no longer wear them. When we started probing to find out why, the people said that they were afraid of something happening to their precious possession. They were afraid that they would get dirty or worse, scratched and they wanted to protect them. We soon had to educate about the effectiveness of glasses and let them know that they would only be helpful if they were worn on the face. Who ever would have anticipated needing to implement such teaching?? This brings up my last point (I've been writing for forever as of now and props to you if you've read this whole thing! woo hoo)...
The people here have nothing. Literally. So everything, from empty water bottles, to even one kid asking for my used dental floss, is precious here. These people so crave to have something, that they will cherish anything. Often times I would see kids with toothbrushes tied around their necks -- worn proudly as if to represent their golden prize. It blew me away. As you're brushing your teeth tonight, imagine not having anything, literally, anything in your name. In your possession. From the computer that you're using to read this, to your car, phone, deodorant, ipod... then imagine having nothing, yet having Jesus. Does that equate to fullness for you?