My posts are a little out of sync right now because of the spotty internet access we had so I am not going to continue the naming convention I was using.
Today we visited a youth center in the World Vision Mlonyeni Area Development Program area. Once again the children are the highlight of this visit, there were so many of them and they were just clamoring to get up close and have a look at these strangers. This photo was taken as we pulled into the driveway of the youth centre. These children were the first to spot the World Vision vehicle and came running towards us excitedly waving and yelling something in their Chichewa language. The only thing I could make out was “mzungu”, which means “white person”, which we hear a lot. One of the translators tells us that the children are yelling out “our sponsors are here, our sponsors are here!” which has been burned in my memory and is still emotional to think about – if you just could have seen and heard how excited they were. I’m not sure where they got this idea because none of us were their sponsors.
And this is a couple of minutes later as we were trying to exit the Land Cruiser! I keep wondering – is this what it is like to be Bono or Justin Bieber? I’m quite certain the feeling couldn’t come close to this.
They had an entire program setup for us to see the kinds of things they were doing including a performance by this African/Reggae band, they were really good! The really interesting thing about this was that even though the band was using a mixer, electric guitars, mics, etc., there was no power! Actually, outside of major cities, electricity doesn’t seem to exist. So how did this happen? Another amazing World Vision project! They actually installed solar panels on the roof of this building which provided the power for the band as well as lights and a few other things around the complex.
When the band starting playing a lot of the older boys and young men ran to the front and started dancing! The guy on the right is “Wezzie” a World Vision staff member from Malawi and one of our translators. This man was absolutely hilarious, and this was a totally spontaneous act which had us almost falling off our chairs laughing. We will never forget this guy!
I included this picture for Andy – check out the drum sticks!
This seems a bit random but have a look at the following photo. One of our hosts takes me to this back room to show me something. He is quite proud to show me the work performed by the wood working group at the youth center. It seems they make coffins and sell them! I keep trying to ask why coffins, why not tables or shelves or anything? There is a bit of a language barrier and he is not really getting my point. The fact is there is a market for these and people are happy to get the good deal they get buying them from the youth center. He is very proud showing me this.
This young man was running a barbershop on the site of the youth center. He is using electric equipment that is powered by the World Vision solar panels and is leasing this small space from the youth center. This is a little girl getting the traditional cut that is apparently mandated by the government along with the school uniforms they all wear.
I asked if I could get my hair cut like theirs (I was ¾ of the way there anyway), and the barber indulged me. Again, the children didn’t quite know what to make of this “mzungu” in their barbershop; they crowded the doorway of the tiny bamboo structure to get a look at something they have never seen before. The price for the children was 30 Kwatchas, but was going to be 40 for me, I guess because of the size of my head. It somehow ballooned to 200 by the time it was finished.
So here we are preparing to leave and we are treated to the same send-off that we are getting everywhere we go.
Here are a few random photos of this visit to finish off this post (check out the homemade soccer ball, I actually left them 2 new soccer balls here, they had none)…