The cat and kitten post…

For those of you in the know, you’ll know that I prefer cats to dogs. What you might not know is that my parents are currently feeding 15 cats (seven of which are kittens). So as well as sunshine and family and friends, my five weeks at home were full of cats. ¬†I decided that if I ever lived at home for an extended period of time again, I would start a blog called “The Cat Chronicles” and tell inane stories of what’s going on in the daily lives of the cats on the property, and the amazing, wonderful, and clever things they did. Or better yet, I’d call it “The Kat Kronikles”… … maybe not. ūüėÄ

Anywho-pictures and video!

Hiking Tubal Cain

It’s been such a privilege to be home for a while, to spend time with amazing people and to see some beautiful places. On Saturday, I got to go hiking with some friends from church along the Tubal Cain and Tull Canyon trails. We had a bit of cloud cover to start out, but then it cleared up and was sunny for the rest of the day. About mid-day, we stopped for lunch, and I watched the clouds curling around a ridge. The combination of permanent and ephemeral was enthralling. My heart is indeed full.

Best Friends

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Ponda apa nane ndipondepo.

A Chichewa phrase describing best friends that roughly translated, says “Walk in front of me so I can walk there too,” and carries the connotations of stepping in the footsteps of the one in front of you, walking in sync. It’s such a great way to describe our relationship with God. Or at least what it could be.

I’ve got the power?

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Working towards power-all day, every day.

Escom, the power company around here, uses this as it’s motto. One of our team (Gary) puts it like this: Power all day, every day….someday. It seems strange that a power company would advertise the fact that they don’t have power all day, every day. But at least they’ve got good goals!

Even though I think that the motto is ridiculous and funny, I realize that I’ve got a similar problem in my own life. I think that I’m doing well because I’m nice to people some of the time, or that I’m on fire because I actually spent time with God in the morning. Perhaps my own motto should be: Elizabeth, working towards loving God and people-all day, every day.

Netball

I don’t know if it’s simply because I’m American, but I didn’t hear about netball until recently (about a year or so ago). And even then, all I knew about it was that it’s kinda like basketball…but for girls. My real introduction to netball came here in Lilongwe. Deliah, an amazing YWAMer who lives and works here in Lilongwe, has a group of girls that she disciples every Friday and coaches in netball every Wednesday. I’ve been hanging out with the girls, and helping Deliah where I can.

Today, the girls were supposed to play a game against a team from another village, so they had been practicing a lot recently. Thursday, Friday and¬†Saturday! However, the team they were supposed to play realized at the last minute that they had another game today. So the game’s been rescheduled for next Saturday, which unfortunately, I’ll miss.

It’s fun watching the girls play, because the older girls are very serious and play hard, while some of the younger girls don’t take things quite so seriously. Hannah and Efrida, some of the youngest players, got distracted and were laying down while play went on at the other end of the field! And of course, the girls who weren’t playing were cheering/singing/dancing. They play this dancing game where each girl takes a turn doing a specific dance, and once everyone has done it, they go on to the next type of dance.

All in all, there’s a lot of laughter and good fun had by everyone!

(I’ve made a video, but it refuses to upload! I’ve tried twice for about a total of 12 hours…and it’s only 50MB. Oufta. The video will have to wait until a better internet connection!)

Evening Sounds

I went out into the garden tonight to burn the rubbish, and there was a bird singing. I couldn’t see it, because it was dark and hidden by the tree, but whenever I repeated its song, it sang back to me. That was very nice!

This morning, we all went down to Crossroads (the closest mini-bus exchange to us together) and then Gary and Shelby went to the feeding program in Mtsiliza while Amanda, Lacey and I exchanged money, went grocery shopping, bought tonight’s dinner and went to talk to a Relief Agency about volunteering with them while we’re here. It’s beginning to feel like we’ve got half an idea of where we are and where we want to go and how to get there, but we’ve still got a long ways to go!

On the way back from Crossroads, we managed to find a mini-bus quickly and for the right price, but we ended up with 30 people crammed into a 15 passenger van. The drivers want to get as many people in on each route, because that way they can make the most money! Each bus ride is an adventure. But usually there’s some smiles shared and at least one good conversation every day.

After lunch, we got started on some practical work here at YWAM Lilongwe. They want to put up some new clothes lines because they’ve got a DTS starting at the end of June, and more people will be around. So we dug the holes for the poles, stripped the poles of their bark (with machetes!) and then cut them down to size with a hack saw. I’m thankful to my dad that I’ve got at least some sawing experience, but I don’t have the endurance to cut four poles down to size! But by dinner time, we have four poles cut to size, with their bark removed, and the ends painted with anti-termite paint. We also had a few blisters and cuts and sore backs, but it’s worth the hard work to see something come out of it!

Oh, and dinner was a treat-pizza and a snickers bar! Such a luxury to have a meat pizza and a candy bar!

Feeling foolish

When I’m home in Wales or Washington, I generally understand what’s going on around me, am quick to understand, and sometimes even feel like I have some sort of expertise. Here, I don’t understand the language, I don’t know the culture, and often feel helpless. And to make it worse, I put pressure on myself to know and understand because that’s what I’m used to. Some instances of feeling foolish:

  • Learning how to scoop rice properly! We’re going to a feeding program in a village called Mtsiliza three times a week, and yesterday I spent the morning scooping rice into containers and onto plates. It’s burning hot, and it can be difficult to get the right amount, or to get it to all come off the scoop. The other challenge is that sometimes, there needs to be two, three, or even four portions on a plate or container. The women who run the feeding program have resorted to hand signals to let me know how much to give!
  • I don’t know how to carry anything on my head. It seems like it would be much easier to carry 10 gallons of water on top of me rather than in front of me, but how?!
  • Using public transportation. We’ve started using the minibuses that abound in town. Yesterday, when coming back from Mtsiliza, we got into a crowded minibus, only to have them stop before the temporary police roadblock. The driver and conductor flagged down a passing vehicle and then beckoned to me to get out of the van, along with a couple other people who were close to the door. They sent us to the vehicle, where we hopped in. After driving us through the roadblock, we found the minibus waiting for us on the other side!¬†
  • I don’t really know how to light a fire to cook anything. I’ve started fires before, but it’s always been a bit challenging. Also, I don’t know how to cook nsima, which is the main food here. It’s a little like polenta. Everytime I’ve made it so far, I’ve needed help!

Perhaps I need to learn to let go, and to be unafraid to feel like a fool. After all, God uses foolish things and foolish people, right? Plus, it is fun to learn new things, and everyone has to start somewhere!