This blog courtesy of Steve Hoesel
I love starting the day with chapel. Every day at ABC, you begin the day in the word of God from 0730 to 0805. Today, Paul Gunther blessed us with a message about the choices we make in life. He reminded us that our perspective is not God’s. How are we choosing to live? Is it for ourselves or for God? God is real, and we should strive to be imitators of God.
After breakfast, we headed over to Chipampha village’s Primary school. As we approached, the children started chanting “ah..zungoo…. ah..zungoo…” LOUDLY!!! Azungoo means white people or person. There was approximately 600 children clapping and yelling for us and when we started to get out of the bus, the crowd went crazy. It was a real “rock star” moment! We made our way to the school Superintendent and teachers, we gave them 3 soccer balls and I brought neck ties for the men. Paul asked if we could give them a soccer ball to play with and a huge soccer game ensued. The kids naturally chose sides and on either side there was dancing, singing and laughing. I knowingly asked the Super, “this is good…yes?” He said “Oh yes! The kids are enjoying this so much!” It’s amazing what a simple act of love can do.
After the soccer game, we said our farewells so the kids could get back into their classes. We went to Milika’s village which is up the road and we were received warmly. Our relationship with the chief in this village is growing. We’ve established trust and faithfulness. She asked us if we would have a meal in her house as her guests. Okay, first of all, that doesn’t happen…in the chief’s house…during the first week we met. So, we prepared some of the meal together, played with the kids with Jenn and Kim blowing bubbles for them. During this time, one of the little girls had a flesh wound. I had a first aid kit with some dressings for her. Kim played nurse and did a good job of patching her up. Then I looked in another pocket, and saw two beedy eyes staring at me. THERE IS A BAT IN MY BAG! One of the older boys looked in, saw the bat, reached in and grabbed it like a hamster and tossed it up in the air! The bat flew away and didn’t stay for lunch. Too bad for him because we had a very real, very good, hut cooked meal. The chief showed us ultimate respect. She prepared a fresh chicken, which is only served for honored guests. She fetched water from a well in another village, (her well isn’t working), and treated the water with tablets. We had fresh greens, nsima and okra. Truthfully, the okra was like the green slime that lines a watering trough. Nonetheless, we were extremely grateful for her hospitality, and ate all she had to offer.
Leaving the village, we brought the chief with us to a widows home who we were unable to visit the previous day. It was a couple of miles away, and while driving there, we spotted the Guliwonkulu. And they spotted us and gestured to us to “stop, come here“. 8 men in witch doctor masks and garb, with machete’s and spears came running at us. Our ABC students that were with us said all they would do is ask for money. Didn’t matter, we weren’t stopping and kept going to the widows home. At the widows home, we met Ms. Katsono. Her husband died in 2002, and all her children are dead. Recently, she had given up on life and stopped eating. The Guliwonkulu believe their ancestors’ spirits will give them everything they’ll need. Well, they didn’t provide food when Ms. Katsono wasn’t eating. Chief Malika heard about it, walked the couple of miles and brought her food. Ms. Katsono was so grateful, she vowed to go wherever Chief Malika went. Now Ms. Katsono attends church in Malika village. Darkness cannot prevail where there is light.
From there, Paul dropped Kim, Jennifer, and myself off at COTN (Children of the Nations) so we could see our sponsor children. It was a fantastic reunion with new dresses, shoes, coloring books and pencils, along with Dumb-Dumb lollypops. We walked to the homes and met the families and took pictures of them. Jennifer brought a picture printer so we print up the picture back at our lodge, and give them their very own family photo. It’s something we’ve been doing at Malika village and received very well. It was wonderful to see our friends at COTN and we also laid some ground work for our future visit in June 2010.
At 6pm, we all went to Palmer’s, brother Paul’s house for the famous Paul Gunther Thai dinner. Outstanding as usual. Paul’s wife Laura only had to go to every store in Lilongwe to find all the ingredients!
Prayerfully our stomachs will be okay and we wont be forced to figure out which “soured” our systems. The local African fare, or Paul’s Thai. Good night, and make it a great day! Steve.