One week we told Davie that we would like to take him home to his village on his day off. It was a holiday on Thursday so that seemed perfect. Though Davie works full time for us, his wife and children stay in the village so he only sees them once a week. Occasionally they come to visit him here and they stay with him for the day. The first time that happened, I went to introduce myself and little baby Mike took one look at me, got a terrified look on his face and started to cry. Now, that has been the pattern every time I see him!
So, on a late Wednesday afternoon, Davie changed clothes in the garage as he usually does, and climbed in the back seat of the car. Off we went! It was only about a 30-minute drive south on the Chikwawa Road before we turned off on a dirt road to the east to drive to the village of Chunga. About ten minutes later, Davie told us to stop, even though we just seemed to be in the middle of some maize fields.
You could tell that Davie was excited not only to see his family but to show us his other world. And little Mike still was not very happy to see me!
The village children were the first to gather around. So many are related, but we couldn't keep the relations straight and most of the villagers did not speak English, so Davie kept busy translating. Picture taking is always a popular activity!
This is the time of year that the maize has been harvested. It has dried on the stalks and now been picked. Everyone pitches in to remove the kernels, then allowing them to dry in the sun for several days.
We always ask all the people we visit how many bags of maize they were able to harvest. The terrible rains of January destroyed many of the plants so yield is lower this year. Many people know they do not have enough to get them through until next year's harvest.
The villagers were very proud of their animals. I was actually quite surprised to see a cow. Goats and chickens you see in the city, but no cows.
From here, she poured the milk into an empty plastic soda bottle to take to market and sell.
|A day or so later, when Davie was back at work, I gave him some goat cheese since he had no idea that goat milk could produce something so delicious (at least I think so).|
Elder and Sister Bingham, the Self-Reliance missionaries worked on teaching farmers about goats before they left the mission field.
The ubiquitous chickens. In Blantyre, they sleep the nights in the owner's house while they roam free during the day. The life of the village chickens is probably more the way we imagine chickens on the farm. Probably because I was oohing and ahhing, Davie asked me if I had ever seen a pig, and he was willing to take me over to the pig stye, but I assured him I had seen a pig.
|As some people walked by, they stopped to chat with the "azungu".|
One of the main reasons we came was to take a photo of Davie and his family so we could put it on the board at church. Davie's wife Chrissy does not get into town often enough to go to church very much but she is part of the branch.
First she went in to change her dress - I always understand when the women need a few minutes to prepare! Even daughter Hanna ran in to change to a lovely white dress.
When Chrissy's mother, who stays (lives) in a nearby house saw us, she too wanted a photo with her daughter.
She owns several houses in the village.
We can see why Davie is fond of the village. The people have a strong sense of community.
I am out in front.
It is the custom in Malawi to accompany your guests at least half way back when they are leaving. It is our natural inclination to tell them "That's okay, you don't need to come" but we have learned they are not happy if they do not feel they are been gracious and polite.
We watched Davie, Chrissy, Hanna and baby Mike as they headed back to the village for an evening together.
The next morning Davie was back in Blantyre- not to work for us but to cut the lawn at the church. He is used to going back and forth on the minibus, but I am sure he is looking forward to the day he can stay in one place.
In the meantime, we are happy to have Davie around!