We just finished the trip back to the capital city of Lilongwe from a beautiful beach area called Salima where we did some shopping at the “curios” and had lunch overlooking lake Malawi. It was absolutely beautiful. There’s always a bit of dissonance in your heart when you are in a third world or developing country amongst people who make less than 200$ a year in one moment, and then sitting in a cabana by the lake with the cool breeze. Still trying to hold those two experiences in tension in my heart.
I’ve seen some amazing things this week in Malawi. I’ll try to recount a few.
1. 10-15 people in the back of flat bed pick ups. Almost everyone walks in Malawi. In the mornings, there are 10x the amount of people walking along the road and riding bikes than there are cars. So if you can get a ride from someone, it’s a pretty big deal. Often you will see a flatbed pickup that is absolutely jam packed with people, legs and arms hanging off the sides, driving at least 60mph down the road. It’s nuts!
2. bikes _ I have seen more bicycles this week than I have in the past 34 years of my life. People will do anything to have a bike. Not only does it transport you, but tobacco, fire wood, nsima, beans, rice, your friends and your family. Most the bikes have wheels that are no longer round and half of the time the frame is bent. But the Africans are very resourceful people and they figure out a way to make it work.
3. Lounging _ when you go through a town or village, everyone is out on the front stoops of homes and businesses. the entire social life of Malawi revolves around what grows and when it grows. during planting season, you will not see this many people just socializing. Right now, all the crops have been planted, but not much is able to be harvested…therefore as Africans are very social people, everyone just hangs out and chats all day in the shade.
4. Hardest feet I’ve ever seen _ at the end of the church leaders training, in an effort to lead by example, Scott, the WR team and myself decided to wash the feet of the 40 or so people in attendance. Never have I seen or felt feet so calloused and hard. These feet had seen thousands of miles and could tell stories you would never believe. By far and away the hardest working human beings I have ever come in contact with. Simply amazing!
We leave for the airport tomorrow morning at 7am. I have been blessed by Africa in so many ways. The WR staff and team do amazing work among the most vulnerable people of the world and do so through the local church. It has been an honor to partner with them and walk alongside them.