The littlest missionary

Many azungu (white people) return to their home countries to have babies and the fact that we didn’t has been a source of much surprise and joy to every Malawian we encounter. Malawians express great pride in our son Seth being born here. People in our village have claimed him as their own, calling him Mwana wa Malawi (Malawian baby) and Mwana wathu (our baby). We even have had more than one person joke with us that when we return to the States we will have to leave him with them.

Seth is an instant conversation starter and strips down any cultural barriers. Where before we might have had surface-level, reserved interactions, we now experience warmth and intimacy. For instance, my parents came to visit and on our journey to the airport located in the capital city, we had to pull over on the side of the road for a breastfeeding pit stop. A group of women passed and seeing a car full of azungu, they came to the window to ask for money. However, as soon as they saw Seth, all else was forgotten and they gathered around for a closer look. After asking several questions about him, pinching his cheeks, and wishing us well they continued on their way – a heartwarming encounter on both sides. On another occasion, we were out for a walk with Seth in our village. A group of children saw us and accompanied us a little way. Two of the girls in the front started to hop along beside me. I realized that they were trying to get a peek at Seth who I was toting in a shoulder carrier. We stopped then so that I could bend down and show him off. All the kids pressed in exclaiming over the baby. On our way back the same group of kids gathered again to see us and this time even their mothers came walking ‘casually’ down the road as we approached clearly with the intention of seeing him for themselves. We stopped for a while to chat and a man that happened to come down as well told us that we had ‘made them very happy’ referring to the women.

We call Seth the littlest missionary and his ability to draw people together shows that he is truly living up to his title.