When we first arrived in Blantyre and attended church at the Zingwangwa branch, we got to know the Banda family. Sister Banda was the Relief Society president. Brother Banda, the Elders' Quorum president at the time, was the first member to take us around, to introduce us and show us where some other members live. He is now President Banda of the Zingwangwa branch.
Taken when we first arrived, this photo was right in front of their home. The children, Comfort, Conscious, and Cornie are all a little taller now.
President Banda, taken last week at an activity. He loves his Kenya shirt, but he is a Malawian true and true.
Joseph Banda is also an artist true and true. He plays the guitar, sings and leads the music at church, paints, and carves wood into nativity sets and other Malawian figures.
He attaches the canvases to the living room wall and works on his paintings over a period of several days.
The top painting is the beginning of an "iron rod" scene. You can see the river, the "tree of Life" and a large and spacious building, not yet filled with people.
This is the detail of a village scene. At least these missionaries have heads (but not yet faces). Sometimes we have seen them headless, which is always a little distressing to me.
His hand can serve as a palette.
And I thought we were the only ones who worked in white shirts!
Sometimes, when we have stopped by with visiting senior missionaries, friends or family, he will bring out his most recent work.
The cement floor is new this year. During our first months here, the floor was dirt. Now sometimes, he takes out chalk and draws a map to direct us to a location. Very convenient!
A few months ago, Elder Mphofu baptized a new member into the church in the Zingwangwa branch. When his name was read in, I noticed right away that is was MATTISE - not a name I had heard before in Malawi. Mattise is deaf and Elder Mphofu (from Kenya) knew how to sign. Now several members in the branch are learning to sign, not only to communicate with Matisse, but also with other new deaf members.
What I did not know at the time was that Matisse is also an artist - painting in acrylics. He also paints pottery.
As you can see, it didn't take us long to become patrons.
Do you see the little old man and woman in the right foreground...white shirt, pink blouse and nametags?
We are standing in front of his studio where next to the street, there is a sign that reads "Talented Deaf Arts". He was puzzled why we did not want to take it already mounted on the wood frame, so I had to explain- in writing - that we were weeks away from going home, and rolling it up would allow us to take in on the plane.
Clearly, with a name like Matisse, he was born to paint!