Although I have already posted a blog today, I thought I would do a second to answer some questions:
Where are you staying? We are staying in a house in a village in Southern Malawi, not far from a town called Limbe. To get to the house you have to go down a very bumpy mud track, where there are houses/shacks on either side. Miriam and I have a couple of rooms to ourselves, but we have a flushing toilet (when the water is working), a cold shower ( though we are very thankful for a bucket of hot water each morning to wash with) and a table where we eat. Our bed is comfortable and we brought with us a mosquito net to sleep under. No other furniture, so our clothes remain in our bags. The tin roof is noisy when it rains, or when crows land on it at 6.00am, and in the morning the condensation that forms in the cooler nights drip onto us and our bags. But it is comfortable and clean, and the Milanzi family are very caring.
What are we eating? Most Malawians eat Seema every meal, that is a very thick Maize porridge. Occasionally they will add beans, vegetables, chicken or fish to it, and they eat with their hands. We though are getting given some other things like rice or potatoes, and sometimes chips, and they are cooking in vegetable oil rather than ground nut oil, which they would normally use and for which we are very thankful as not good for Miriam’s nut allergy! It was good this morning to get some pineapple, and we occasionally get bananas, but all these things are expensive.
What is the weather like? Well we heard from Tom at the weekend that it had been snowing in Sheffield that day, and he was highly jealous as we told him that we had spent the day in Malawi trying to keep in the shade as it was very hot and sunny. However, it is the rainy season, and whilst some days are very hot and sunny, other days we have had a lot of rain. When it does rain, it is still warm and very pleasant. Most days though it will be a mixture of sunny weather and then a heavy rain shower.
What does each day hold? It doesn’t seem like sitting down and talking over a meal or in an evening is a very Malawain thing to do, so in the evenings we are left to ourselves and are playing a lot of Scrabble – 4 games all now!! But that means we go to bed quite early, especially when there is no power, and anyway people get up early and are off to work or school by 6.00am or soon after. Some days we are very quickly off to visit different ministries, such as a nursery, a prison, the Good News Revival Youth Resource Centre, a church….and this can be anywhere in the country, so there has been a lot of being driven around. This has meant we have seen a lot of the country, which is very beautiful, but we don’t get much of a chance to stop and look at things. Other days we have done very little, staying at the house, which is the Good News Revival Centre, reading or talking to those who visit. Some have good English, it being the second language of Malawi, others only speaking the local language, Chichewa. But whether you speak English or not, the welcome is always a handshake and then “Hello, how are you?’ “Fine, how are you?”
What are we learning? At this stage it is too early to really say what we are learning, but we are experiencing so many new things. But in our reading, in our talking to Nedson and in seeing what is happening, perhaps the one thing that stands out is that there is so much need, and that all anyone can do is to help one person at a time, helping to change or transform that life. Perhaps the same can be said for anywhere in the world, we are called to change one life at a time as we share the love of God both spiritually and practically. We are also learning to speak/preach off the cuff, often being told as we arrive somewhere that we will be given an opportunity to speak, trusting on the Holy Spirit to inspire us and using the moment when what we say is translated to pray for the next moment of inspiration. We are learning the need to rely fully on God, and are enjoying spending time together reading the Bible and praying each day in preparation for what lies ahead.
Hope that gives you some further insights on our life in Malawi, which at times does feel a bit like camping at New Wine!!