Thursday, January 7, 2016

Visiting Teaching to Sister Kunje in Baluti--George's Post

Carole and Enita are visiting teaching companions.    For some time they have had two sisters to visit, Sister Mkandawire and Sister Kunje; recently, they were assigned a third sister, Chisomo Monjeza, who was just married to Amos Monjeza.  They try to visit their families once a month, but it has been a bit difficult the last couple of months, so they were anxious to visit their families early in January.
Yesterday they visited with Sister Kunje, who lives in a small village called "Baluti," located just on the outskirts of Blantyre, and Chisomo, who is back in town close to what is called the "CI" corner.    Sister Banda, the Relief Society President, accompanied them.   Given the distances, I serve as the chauffeur, usually waiting in the truck while they visit, but yesterday it was so hot that I walked around a bit.
The following are photos taken during the visits.   They will give you a sense for the great beauty and vibrancy of life in Malawi.
Enita, Carole and Sister Banda.   This photo was taken shortly after we parked the truck and were walking down to the Kunje's home.  Baluti is a small village, roughly five miles from downtown Blantyre.   It has five or so blocks of small shops, a maize mill, and the normal services of a small market town.   The roads are all unpaved, and I usually park the truck about a half a mile from the Kunje's home, walking in the last distance.

This little fellow is a holding a mango.   The mango trees are full of fruit this time of year.  He doesn't quite know what to make of us.

Small children, even infants, are everywhere in the village.   Sometimes it seems as though they are on their own, but little guardians (perhaps brothers or sisters or nieces or nephews) always within calling distance if some problem were to pop up.  As you can see, he is still suspicious of us.

As the sisters headed down the path to Sister Kunje's, they encountered a number of young porters, both boys and girls carrying these heavy brick loads up to a building site higher on the hill.  Most were open to having their pictures taken.

We are now a month into the rainy season, so the landscape is greening up.   Each week it rains once or twice for an hour or so, usually heavy downpours.   But thus far, we have been spared the torrential all-day storms of last year, which caused so much damage and loss of life.

Most of the brick porters were girls, but here is a young boy, willing to have his picture taken.

As long as I show the kids their pictures, they usually are game to being photographed.  Like kids everywhere, some of them mug for the camera.

In the foreground is the little cluster of homes, where the Kunje's and their neighbors stay.  Invariably, the neighbors are intrigued to see members visited both by missionaries and other members.

Sister Banda, Enita and Carole turning into the small courtyard.

Yes, I did get the mother's consent to take this photo.   A hot day, she was giving this little tyke a sponge bath.

The Kunje's home was one of the first we ever visited in Malawi. 

Sister Kunje's youngest was terrified, hiding here behind his mother.

A brick pile to the left.

Families get their water from this well.

The porters worked tirelessly for the hour or so we were in the area, back and forth from the burn pile to the work site.

School age children, boys and girls, wear distinctive uniforms to school.

As I walked by a small tree, two chameleons fell onto the path.

When possible, we park the truck and walk, both to avoid tight, rocky lanes and to stay connected with the community.   As you can imagine, being in a truck creates a distance between us and the neighbors and members.

This is a pretty typical scene, men roofing a new home.   Lumber is extremely expensive in Malawi owing to the scarcity of marketable timber.

Many families have small stands, selling charcoal, cooking oil, dried fish, candies, and vegetables.   This is one of the ways of supplementing their incomes.

Carole, Sister Kunje, Enita and Sister Banda, returning to the truck.   The custom is for the host to accompany guests part way home.

Despite the swaddling and heat, or perhaps because of it, Sister Kunje's little tyke has fallen asleep.

Women at the well.

This photo shows the scale.

Young woman returning from the maize mill, sprinkled with flour.