Africa: Day 9

August 25

We woke up to no water. Two buckets of hot water arrived on our doorstep as promised. I washed my hair using those coveted water bottles. Those things do come in handy for all sorts of things! We decided to leave the lodge a day early and head to Zomba after our day’s work was finished.

Bath anyone?

First stopped at the village of Thobola, where Rachel had raised enough money to build a school (isn’t she amazing?!). The school is called the Nan Ray Primary School, which was named after Rachel’s mother who was a teacher. Once again, the children greeted us with a warm welcome.  Because Little Dresses for Africa raised the money to have the school built, the government agreed to supply a well and vaccinations for the children. See how love multiplies?! We met with the chief, the school master and many others, where they had a small ceremony welcoming us to the village. They even gave us each an African name! Mine is Nankhoma.  Apparently it doesn’t mean anything. Feel free to call me by my African name if you’d like. :)

The Nan Ray Primary School in Thobola, Malawi

We did the usual work: story, crafts, lunch and dress distribution. Same job, different village.

This is one of the little dresses I brought! A Cheryl Nebbia creation, I think.

These kinds of days are so rewarding but full of chaos. Crafts are difficult due to the language barriers. And most of them just stare at me until I can get to each one to assemble it for them. Serving lunch and delivering dresses seems so rushed. These are two areas where “Africa time” does not seem to apply. Really, I wanted say to the locals in charge: “dude, where do you need to be?” When I make dinner at home, it’s an act of love. I make sure it looks and tastes good and that it is presented well. It was very hard for me to slop cabbage on a child’s plate, while the adults pushed them through the line. Same with the dresses – I wanted to smile at each girl, touch each one and tell them they looked pretty in their new dress. We had even written “you are pretty” on our hands in Chichewa so that we would remember how to say it. Yet it seemed so rushed. I know they loved their dresses. I know they needed them. Children wearing nice dresses look loved and are less likely to be abused. I just hope they felt the love of God as they were receiving them.

Last April, Rachel had a 40 ft. container sent to Africa. This is huge! It was filled with all sorts of supplies for the school and the village. Now it sits right outside the school and holds their food during the “hunger season,” which is from November to February.

The 40 ft. container

Today we had to say good-bye to our good friend Wilfred who works with the Ministry of Hope. He has been with us all week, translating for us and guiding us. He gave us such an encouraging word as he left. He said that we won’t see it now, but that we are helping generations of children. When the job seems uncertain, by investing in children we are investing in Malawi’s future. I know God is and will continue to work powerfully through this man in Malawi. He has such a heart for his people, and I hope to get to work with him again one day.

Wilfred! At the MOH crisis nursery

We drove two hours to Zomba, where we would spend the night. Our team was split into two lodges because they couldn’t accommodate all of us. We leave for the game park tomorrow, which will be a much needed day of rest.