Molly in Africa

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A day in the life...

This is not a typical day, so don’t get excited but this is not a completely abnormal day either. This is just a day in the life for me, right now. Enjoy…

Yesterday morning I went to work early (7:00 instead of my usual arrival around 7:40) because I’m the teacher on duty this week and I had to oversee the class I had assigned “punishment” for. I made the class do weeding for about 15 or 20 minutes and I had a great time joking around with them or mocking them. ☺ Good teacher that I am, right? At 7:30 the rest of the students began their normal cleaning and I spent the next fifteen minutes walking around supervising. At 7:45 the bell rang and students went to classes for morning prayers and attendance and I went to my office where I found a student coming in who wasn’t feeling well. Twenty minutes later the secretary came to me and said the director has assigned me to drive her to the hospital. I drove her and her housemate to the hospital and dropped them off (picking up some people along the way who also wanted a ride in that direction).

When I returned to work it was about 8:30 and before I even made it back to my office, I was told that I had to drive for a funeral for the rest of the day. One of my co-worker’s father-in-law died and we needed to bring his family plus a MIRACLE-made coffin to his home village about 25 km away. At this point, I was vaguely aware that absolutely nothing I had planned to do that day would happen. Such is life.

Highlights of the afternoon included:
- driving through a bushy area with approximately 11 people in the bed of the pick-up truck along with an empty coffin, then getting stuck in the mud and spending the better part of an hour trying to back up- which included backing up down that same bushy path (which I must say was easier to drive forward than in reverse) and breaking one of the side-mirrors off the car because the car couldn’t get out of the mud to get a better angle on the path
- arriving at the funeral and finding an incredibly grateful group of people waiting for the arrival of the coffin
- sitting with all the women (the men and women are separated) and their children as they sang songs and listened to the preachers. I looked around at one point and was just admiring all the colors that everyone was wearing—not only did they wear brightly colored chitenjes (cloths), but they each wore several different (Americans would say “clashing”) chitenjes. Unlike American funerals that are sad and even look sad, Malawians do a MUCH better job of celebrating the life and celebrating God’s infinite support though their songs but also in the colorful ways they dress and dance.
- having my co-workers very adorable daughter fall asleep on my lap
- getting entertained by two choirs that sang beautifully and danced with such enthusiasm- it was amazing… my co-workers were disappointed I didn’t bring my video camera so we could prove to people how impressive it all was!
- taking lunch at about 3:30 at my co-worker’s father’s house and sharing stories with my co-workers; after lunch learning the proper ways to eat sugar cane without a knife… surprisingly easier than I thought
- driving through the tent village where those affected by the chindindindi (earthquake) were being assisted and then driving home- dropping off everyone at their houses on the way home
When I finally arrived home it was about 5:20 and I was late for our guests who we’d invited for dinner. We have three new people working at MIRACLE- a brick-layer, an agriculture teacher and a new attachment program officer- so our house decided to invite them over for dinner to get to know them a bit better. The whole evening was a blast- they’re really fun and younger than most of the other staff members so we could talk more freely with them. We even convinced them that we have a pet lion (still quite young- we said he’s the size of a dog) and when we went to show them after dinner Chris had already stealthily tied a rope around the tree and left an empty dish next to tree and then convinced them that our lion ran away! Hahah, it was pretty funny… and hard to keep a straight face, but we were successful and today I was questioned about whether our lion had returned… “not yet, but we usually feed him in the afternoon so I’m hoping he’ll come back later.” Oh lions… :)

So it was a long day and I’m still tired today—driving takes a lot out of me when we get stuck and I feel a lot of pressure not to ruin the car (which I sort of failed at yesterday). But all in all, it was a really wonderful day and I am grateful for all these random experiences that I’m having while I’m here.