A Cultural Exchange

This Saturday our team spent diving more deeply into local culture in Mwandi and learning more about this community we are calling home these two weeks. The morning began after a delicious breakfast with the team going on a village tour with our long-time friend Gertrude as guide. Gertrude was able to share stories about life in Mwandi. She took the team to the homes of several local friends where the team was invited inside homes to get a sense of how day-to-day life in Mwandi is lived. The tour ended with many from the team spending time shopping in the local market–always an eye-opening experience!

After lunch we paid a visit to the OVC where we were able to participate in the daily feeding of the orphans under care of the center. There were easily a couple hundred orphans receiving their one hot meal a day. For a number of folks on our team today was their first experience at the OVC and I was reminded how overwhelming it can be to come face to face with children of all ages in extreme need. These children are hungry for food, love, attention, touch and acceptance. Every team member had large groups of children surrounding them, holding their hands, clinging closely, longing for smiles and hugs and love. Their needs are deep and it overwhelms the mind and heart to see the enormity of need and know that we cannot do anything to truly help in long- term, substantial ways.

While we were at OVC Peggy went with the son of our dear deceased friend Lontiya to visit her grave. While they were in the cemetery, another funeral procession came along burying an elderly family member.

After returning from OVC the team had the chance to take makura rides. The chance to head down the Zambezi River in the traditional dugout canoe is remarkable. A local friend served as the pilot of this boat, standing in the back of the canoe and propelling the canoe down river with a long pile. The canoe moving silently through the water as if on the surface of glass and see Mwandi the way so many see the mission and village–from the river–was such a great privilege.

After changing out of very wet pants, the team went by invitation to the home of Dr. Cathy, the medical officer in charge at Mwandi Hospital. She invited us to tea at her home and we had a very proper full tea. Oh, the lavish table she spread. She had invited other hospital staff and it was a real moment of sharing life together. It was such a delight and an honor for all of us.

We ended the day with a visit to a craft market put together by the local church. The amazing talents of so many were on display–from carvings to jewelry, from textiles to baskets the room was Gould of beautiful craftsmanship. We left the market a bit poorer monetarily, but richer in our connection to this place. We then had dinner with our dear friend Ruairidh Waddell from Malawi who lived and worked in Mwandi for 10+ years and had much to teach us from his humanitarian work.

And now we are off to bed to prepare for tomorrow’s Sabbath Day. We are so much richer now than yesterday. Thanks be to God for the rich experiences of this day!


About revsac

Susan is a Presbyterian Church (USA) pastor; a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and animal lover. She serves as Associate Pastor at Independent Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in Birmingham, Alabama.
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One Response to A Cultural Exchange

  1. Gregory Jeane says:

    I so wish I could be there with all of you. Greg

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