Little blessings

Our daily life is becoming more of a routine. We are adjusting to regular power outages ranging from 2 – 8 hours every few days. About two weeks ago the pump for the bore hole, where we get all of the water for our house, broke. It took just over a week to repair. Conveniences make life easier but they aren’t always necessary or available here in Malawi. For a short period of time we drew water from the neighbor’s outdoor spigot for essential water needs until the pump was fixed.

Everything will be okay, DON’T WORRY! (common phrase we hear and use daily!)

The preschools have kept us busy…From June to August, our family worked to create the alphabet to be hung on the walls of each of the classrooms. We began hanging these hand-made visuals in the classrooms and are happy to see the results. They liven up the classrooms and provide the teachers with visual aids to refer to. We’d like to add more in the coming months. A donation was made so we could purchase the paper and markers we used to create the alphabets; another donation made it possible for us to laminate our hard work!

Tonya, Lily and Josie leading a song with children at the preschool.

About a month ago we purchased a bicycle. It’s a good thing Jacob knows a lot about bikes because he’s had to make many adjustments and repairs! Initially the repairs were happening on a daily basis but we got a good price on a decent bike and are hopeful it will last us quite some time. Jacob has been riding the bicycle to the preschool almost daily as Tonya takes Lilyanna to school using the car. On his ride he gets many “second takes” as he’s singing and hitting jumps whenever he can. I think some Malawians think he’s crazy, but I’ve also noticed the neighborhood around the preschool has welcomed our presence and either greets us or waves at us when they see us. I too have been brave enough to bike out to the preschools. My first ride, I was a bit nervous and prayed the entire way there and home! Riding on a dirt/sand path is not easy but it’s doable. We’ll see if we’re able to ride once the rainy season hits us, I anticipate it won’t be possible but we’ll figure that out when the time comes. It’s about a 40 minute walk so we always have that option!

We have a lot of work to do with the preschools, however we know we need to proceed with a humble heart and open mind. At this point, we’ve focused on the administrative part of the preschool and supporting the teachers where we can. Some days this means drawing pails of water from the well, mopping outdoor toilets or playing with the children during their break. I did take over the 3yr old class one morning and wow, that was a mission experience! Patience, patience, patience! With 37 kids sitting in front of me, some with no chairs to help them sit still, it was a challenging but wonderful experience. Eventually we hope to evolve (create) a curriculum for the teachers to use. For now, we are trying to empower the teachers and let them know we are happy with what they offer.

Jacob leading a dance party at the preschool.

Two weeks ago, Lilyanna’s school was on holiday. Our entire family and Esther, our nanny, went to both of the preschools. Lilyanna, Josephine and their friend Tabby sang and played with the children. They brought bubbles which Lily’s schoolmates back in Illinois at St. Louise de Merriliac mailed us–the children loved this! The girls also played ball and sang songs with the kids. It was a wonderful day! To end the Friday (only half day of preschool on Fridays), we all enjoyed a dance party which Jacob initiated several weeks back. The children love to dance with us and be goofy!

Though the preschools take up quite a bit of our time, we’ve also stayed busy helping out at Lily’s school and in the finance office of our Provincial House. The kitchen equipment has arrived from South Africa (Jacob ordered on behalf of Lily’s school) and he has been busy implementing a new food service opportunity for the campus. I’ve been working on creating a resources room using the extra materials ABC Christian Academy has that hopefully all of the teachers will utilize. Not being a teacher myself, this has created a great opportunity for me to see all the different math manipulatives, and other classroom enhancements a teacher can use. It’s given me several ideas which can be used in the Comboni preschools we are overseeing.

Josephine is doing wonderful! She’s a handful and full of life. She enjoys going to the market, singing, dancing and playing with the neighbor kids. Lilyanna has continued to excel in school! She’s received several rewards for her progress in the school’s AR Program (accelerated reading). She is also tied with one other student for the most 100% scores on their weekly spelling tests.

Lilyanna holding hands with one of her friends at church.

God has continued to bless us with good health! We encounter such extreme poverty on a daily basis, it is humbling to witness the love and happiness so many Malawian’s have to offer, despite their daily fight to find food each day to feed their family. Our lives have changed. We talk a little about life back in the states and wonder if we’ll ever fit in again. We see God in so many people that we meet on a daily basis. We also get frustrated at times as we are still getting used to the culture and language. Though, with beginning our day with prayer and praying throughout the day for patience, understanding and an open heart, we can squash those frustrations pretty quickly!

We ask you to please keep our family in your prayers. Specifically we ask for prayers for health, patience, openness and the ability to share the love of our Lord and Savior.

May God continue to bless you and comfort you! Tsiku labwino! (Have a nice day!)