Dear Friends and Family,
I only have jumbled thoughts, and impressions, and no understanding of anything. I do not understand the beauty and the struggle and the suffering of a Nation. How do I contrast what I see here with who I am, who I am as a person of faith who wants to live out my faith; and how I live when I am in Bushkill, PA, with the life we’re living now in Malawi. Dr John Koessler tells the lament of a preacher: “My preaching is better than my praying and my praying is better than my life.” I can relate to this…. “my praying is better than my life.” How do I live?? How do I live when others have so little and suffer so much? What is my motivation in life and in relation to others? Do I really care? I am seeking understanding, learning, growth, to learn how to serve, and serve here….for what? The Glory of God.
I have been reading Matthew 6, the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor….” I have so much to learn from them. I was with the chaplains this week. The one chaplain did not want to go home at the end of the day until he prayed with the others. Nothing is taken for granted, not even the way home. The way home was covered in prayer.
This week I went on home visits with the hospital staff. I went with a chaplain, 3 nurses, a social worker and the driver of the hospital vehicle. We saw three palliative patients at their homes. Two had cancer and they were doing relatively well. The third patient has sickle cell disease; she out of 3 of the 5 crucial medications she takes. She has been fainting. Is she fainting because of the lack of food, the lack of medication or ? This precious girl is 9 years old. The team decided to send someone out by motorcycle in the coming week to deliver the medication she needs. This girl’s mother is a young widow, and lives with her mother who is a widow and there are several children in the home. They have no money. We gave them maize. Everyone we visited received maize.
There is a primary and secondary public school here. Most classes have about 80 children. The youngest of children walk to school (without parents). I like saying hi to the children (and vice versa). We say hi, high-five, high-five high and low and they are delighted with the attention. I did speak to one secondary teacher walking on the road this week. She teaches biology to 150 high school students!! Oh my!!
I am amazed at the high number of children who do not attend school in the many rural villages. Children not in school is due to many factors–their parents do not have enough money for school uniforms, some villages are more Muslim in which education is de-emphasized, generational beliefs/attitudes effects children going to school, and more. Our neighbor who is from Canada has lived here a long time. She has told us that life here is affected by many layers, and there are many layers to understand. We are just beginning to learn about the less obvious layers.
So, the children who are not in school might tend to the goats. One might see 2-3 boys walking with the goats throughout the village. We were hiking this week. All through the mountain side you could hear the chatter of children tending goats, and cows. Some were picking up sticks for the family fire, and others just hanging around. Oh, I wish all children could go to school.
Throughout our hike, we so enjoyed the beautiful countryside and all the plots of maize being grown by everyone on any piece of available land. There are many more mountains to explore in this area.
I was planning to do nursing here in Malawi. I had a setback. We were not informed of all the required paperwork to complete before arriving, so it will take more time to get through the red tape and get to nursing. The song in chapel (the hospital staff meets weekly for a morning service), this week was the old hymn I Surrender All. Nursing is so much of me and who I am. I surrender all….even my nursing. There are many ways that I can serve.
We have been here one week today. Our life as we know it has drastically changed. We marvel at all that is around us, feeling grateful and blessed. We are blessed that you are in our lives sharing in this journey.
With prayers and thanks, Deb