I’ve heard singing before, even good singing. But somehow, listening to the women sing in church before seemed so much more real than what I’ve heard before. They sang with all their bodies, and don’t mean that they danced, although they did. The women’s voices this morning were rich and strong and intertwined together, like a rope that saves you when you’re drowning. I’m not sure if that’s a good analogy, but whenever I think of their singing, I think of being rescued. Maybe Madeline L’Engle has something to do with that, though I don’t know why she should.
At one point in the church service, two women were leading the singing. The women at church were smiling and laughing with each other, and teasing the women up front. Finally the two up front sat down, and the service went on. When I asked what happened, the woman sitting next to me said that they were singing the song wrong! I love that freedom and the closeness that allows them to do that. The more time I spend with these people, the more I like them, yet I fear that I’ll never figure out how to communicate. It doesn’t help that the people I’ve talked to don’t show much expression. Back home, if I’m trying to make friends with someone, I’ll generally know if I’m succeeding or failing, even if things are awkward. But here, it just feels awkward. I talked to a girl this morning at church, using what little Chichewa I have. After a little while, I discovered that she spoke English. A little more awkward silence and false starts on my part and she said “We have to go now,” and that was that. She probably had to take care of her family, or perhaps she’s just seen too many foreigners come through to care. I probably won’t ever know.
After church, I had lunch with the Alexanders and hung out for awhile with them. The rest of the afternoon was spent planning lessons. I’ve got a general outline for the week, though that will probably continue to change. I’ll make copies and put the final touches on for Tuesday while the students are arriving. Most of the students live in villages that are a couple days of travel from Lilongwe. I’m excited to teach them reading strategies and grammar, but most of all, I’m just excited to meet them! Class begins on Tuesday at 9 am!