May 29th 2010
It has been a great first 4 days in Malawi! With only a few luggage and stomach adjustment glitches, things are going well. I have been welcomed so warmly into the Madisi community by Tinashe, Za, and the other leaders of Rise Malawi Ministries. I have spent most of my time at Tinashe’s home and the multipurpose Rise office/Za’s home, where many children and friends continuously drop by to greet me and hang out with the leaders. This is so neat to see a safe and positive place where youth can come to be encouraged, inspired, and just to be themselves--reminds me of the UrbanPromise student center in Camden. I can already tell how much the kids and teens look up to the leaders, even though we haven’t begun the next session of after-school program yet! I have also been able to go on a walking tour of the community, which includes a moderate size trading center as well as a few schools and a hospital, in which I hope to volunteer. One of the most exciting parts of the tour was seeing the plot of land Rise has purchased and to hear of the vision the leaders have for a future community center there.
I appreciate the slower, simpler lifestyle here so far. It is a welcome opportunity to refocus and understand how millions of people live around the world. While things may not be as convenient, such as the lack of a sink, refrigerator, or internet at our home, we have more than most in the community. I hope that I can continue to grow in my contentment not only in my time here, but also in whatever setting I find myself in the future. We are visiting the capital city this weekend, about a two hour minibus ride from Madisi, where I have the privilege to stay with some of Tinashe’s family tonight and visit her college alma mater tomorrow. We hope to make it back to the internet café next week to share more updates!
Pictures: Me receiving such a warm welcome to Malawi & Tinashe and her nephew Chikondi outside her home