Thursday, June 3, 2010

{Africa. Day Four.}

Hello, hello! Can I just say how daunting this task is?? Ha! I get so excited to share my pictures and stories with anyone that’s interested, but the thought of sitting down and typing out stories seems so overwhelming! I’m currently sitting in my hairdresser’s lobby, planning out a workout schedule for this summer and I couldn’t be more excited! My plan for cardio is this: alternate every third day with running – that’s going to be a struggle, swimming – ha that’s going to be a joke , and climbing stairs – I love climbing stairs, and then somehow work in a strength training regimen, with the hope of being more fit come next semester! Okaaaay, moving on!

Tuesday May 18th ~ First day in Chikudzulire

This morning started at 5:45, as most of mornings usually did. Waking up was followed by getting dressed, having breakfast and packing our bags for the day. Linda arrived close to 7am and escorted us to the Somebody Cares headquarters for an hour of singing and praying. Can I just say that I LOVE the way they pray in Africa? Granted, I was only exposed to the prayers of Malawian people so this might be a gross generalization, but I adored the spirit with which they prayed. Never once did I hear someone utter a prayer of “asking”. There were no “God bless me, God protect me…” prayers. Rather, they were prayers of thanksgiving.

(When I first started taking pictures over there, I would hold up 3 fingers above the camera and say "3-2-1 smile" while counting down with my fingers... I soon realized that they would mimic me in the photos and had to change my tactics! haha)

This spoke measures to me, to my heart. Here in America, we have more than even the middle class in Malawi could ever fathom, and yet our prayers are contaminated with asking for more, asking for different, or asking for newer things or circumstances. These people, who own nothing in their name, don’t pray for things to be different they pray prayers of thanksgiving. They are thankful that the God who created life and love chose to fill them with both, and they rejoice because of the sacrifice of Jesus and the hope that He brings. They consider themselves more than fortunate because of their faith and that was beautiful. At least I happen to think so.

(Same story here... haha!)

Moving on, after our morning devotions, Linda took us to the Malawian version of Costco (which was super cool) and we stalked up on water bottles. In Malawi, just as in Mexico, the tap water is contaminated with all kinds of things you don’t want to put in your body, so we were told to steer clear of tap water and ice cubes. I think I saw that more as a general guideline than a rule to followed… because that didn’t really stop me from brushing my teeth with tap water and ordering iced Chapmans at dinner time. I even drank out of the water from the Boreholes in the village. Looking back on it now, I recognize how lucky I was and how potentially stupid that could have been, but I wanted the full experience.

(A brief shot of our Welcoming Committee)

After leaving the local superstore, we drove for about an hour before reaching the village – Mission Community’s adopted village – of Chikudzulire. Instantly, we were greeted by the “Welcoming Committee” – a crowd of people who welcome guests into their village. After shaking several hands and exchanging friendly greetings, we began to sing and dance! 25-30 songs later, we were tired and they, well they had ran out of songs to sing.  Let’s just say that to us foreigners, we did a jiggle similar to “head shoulders knees and toes” and the Pepto Bismol dance… don’t pretend you don’t know what that looks like!

After the dancing, which I later learned was customary in every village we would attend, we set up our first day of vision clinics. On this particular day, we were able to see 50-75 people and the results were amazing! This one woman in particular was old and frail and had really poor sight. After having her vision assessed by
Jeff, I was handed a sticky note with her prescription. I searched through the 3000+ glasses and found a nearly perfect match! She put them on and started repeating a word over and over again. When I asked a Somebody Care’s staff member what she was saying, he replied: “she is rejoicing and saying ‘I can see! I CAN SEE!’”. That was truly music to my ears. The day was full of helping people and really just being with people. In between hunting for the perfect pair of bifocals, I was teaching the kids to play patty-cake or even singing my own songs to them. It was superb.

The day ended with cheerful goodbyes and a long drive home to the lodge. We finished it off with a *warm* shower and a tasty meal. I was pooped and bed had rarely felt so sweet.

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