The rains came yesterday afternoon and they’ve decided to stay. Working in the rain isn’t always a problem, but when you are building with “matope” (mortar) made with mud, too much water ain’t a good thing. Dirt roads that turn to mud when they are saturated also would make it challenging for our bus to get into the village. And so, we waited.
Although we couldn’t build, we could savor the time we had to enjoy the quiet and simplicity of our surroundings. Team bonding was at an all-time high. The rain brought cooler temperatures and a cozy fire burned in our fireplace. In the same room that we shared our daily meals, we also read and meditated, drank coffee and played games, talked and listened to music. It became a sort of sanctuary. We slowly adapted to the idea that we weren’t going to be “doing” anything today. Just being.
And we were grateful to be dry.
Finally, the heavy rain subsided and we were able to go into town to buy “chichenges” the traditional wraps that Malawian women wear in the villages. Being in town was a fun diversion and gave us a chance to see deeper into the way of life here. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, a fact that is inescapable. Ninety percent of the population live on less than $2 a day. Many of the people we saw wore torn and dirty clothing, no shoes and some were very bold about asking us for money. It was hard not to empty your wallet.
We also stopped to see a completed Habitat home. When we arrived at the house, we learned that it was a child-headed house; the grandmother and former homeowner had died. It was a tragic loss as she had worked very hard to care for the kids. Now, six children, the oldest of whom is 12, carry on without her just as they had to carry on without their parents. They have the help of their great aunt who lives close by, but their childhood has been cut short by these devastating losses. And there are too many others like them. Too many.
“Sun, sun come out wherever you are!”