The rainy season is finished now and the grass is very tall. They will start slashing it down along the roads or burning it. Soon the air will be filled with smoke here and will be that way until rainy season comes again because they do so much burning. We have seen some burning starting already.
Notice the lady in the picture wearing a wrap around her waist. All the ladies wear those. It is called a 'chitenje'. They always have one with them and wear it to keep their skirts clean from the dust, also they spread it so they can sit on the ground, and to wrap around their shoulders if they are cold. It isn't very often that you see them without their chitenje. I have one that the district R.S. President gave me. We had gone to a funeral and it is a must when at a funeral and so she had one ready for me. I also bought a nice one and I took it to Church with me yesterday thinking it might be a bit cool there (it wasn't). The ladies at Liwonde don't speak English but I showed it to them (folded up on my lap). They then proceeded to let me know that I should put it on. I did and then they laughed because I didn't have it just right and they showed me how to do it.
After Sacrament meeting is over the ladies all get off their chairs and sit on the cement floor on their chitenjes. I think they are so used to sitting on the ground and stretching out their legs that it is more comfortable for them and perhaps cooler too. The men stay on their chairs. It is interesting. The men sit on one side of the room and the women on the other. We have encourage husbands and wives to sit together with their family and sometimes they will (maybe just when we are there). There are many more men than women (most due to the fact that so many women can't speak English). Church in Liwonde is done in both languages but I think when we aren't there is is likely all done in Chichewa but all the material is in English.
I have learned a few (very few) words in Chichewa and it makes people (especially the ladies in Liwonde) so happy when I can use it. When they say 'mulibwanji' (How are you?) I can say 'ndilibwino kayainu' (I am fine, and you?). Then they answer 'ndilibwino'. They clap and smile!
Thank you very much is: zikomo kwambiri. Instead of knocking on someone's door you say 'Odi' and they say 'Luwani' (come in). Tionana means 'we'll meet again'. I wish I could speak the language but...... It took me two weeks to learn 'ndilibwino kayainu' and to be able to remember it. My tongue just couldn't quite get it right but I said it over and over and over again and finally got it down.
We had a good day in Liwonde. We always like going there. Two young men (20 yrs. old) were ordained Priests. The church records are not the greatest here. Some were baptized but there are no records recorded in the Church -- just not sent in and some are lost. It is a real challenge. Maybe one day it will all get sorted out. They use different names here often and so it can be a challenge to find what name it was recorded under. Geneology is almost impossible and will have to be done in the millenium. They don't necessarily use the father's surname. There are seldom birth certificates. I don't know how they ever keep track of people. It is so confusing.
We are off to Immigration this morning to drop of some applications for TEPs for 5 missionaries. It is Preparation day for the missionaries and we will pick up the Sisters at the store when they are finished shopping.
It is a good thing that the complex we live in has proved to be safe. I think the guards are pretty useless and sleep most of the night. Last evening when the Zone Leaders came they had to honk, bang on the gate, honk some more..... and finally one of the guards woke up. The other guard was drunk. Jim went over and the guy attempted to wake up and get up but fell back down. We called the landlord and he came and got him and said it was his 3rd time so....... We are also going to ask if it is possible to have at least one guard who can speak English in case something were to happen and we needed to communicate with them. :) The problem is that the men that can speak English can usually get a better job that pays more.
We are doing just fine. Some days we wish we could be here with these people forever and other days .........
The Gospel is true and we are happy when we are sharing it with others and changing lives.
Love to all, The Bullocks