Today we got to sleep in! No 6:15 AM alarm. Yesterday’s building brought us to our finishing point. The remaining work on the house would be completed by the professional builders.
Once again, we arrived at a quiet village. The funeral would be this afternoon. One of our homes had the roof installed. Is was exciting to see and photograph the home we helped create. The other home was almost complete. Our dedication ceremony was relocated to a neighboring village out of respect for the family.
We were greeted with songs of welcome and a procession into the gathering area. There we were treated as honored guests and given seats at the top of the circle alongside the chiefs and village elders. Introductions were made to the audience. The chiefs, Habitat staff, and our team were all introduced to the crowd of about 100. Kind words were shared, grateful thoughts expressed. Our partner families shyly shared a few words.
We then hit the entertainment portion of our program The village women sang and danced for us. We were invited to join in. Then the village dancers arrived in costumes and ugly masks to dance for the joy of
the crowd. Again, all festivities were abbreviated and toned down to respect the community’s loss. We were asked to perform for the group. Based on the talents of 3 of our team members, we performed Anna Kendrick’s “CUPS”, with a few lyrics changed to suit the situation. (We’re gonna miss you when we’re gone.)
On the drive back to Lilongwe we stopped at the village where Kevin & I had the opportunity to build on our last trip. There we visited the homes and families of the 2 houses completed there. It was great to see the finished house, occupied by a now safe and dry family. Our grandmother shared how her family’s new home improved their lives. They were dry, they had a clean safe latrine, they had less malaria, had a little space they could call their own. The children in this village were extraordinarily boisterous. They greeted us with cheers, hand holding, smiles and laughter. I wonder if the remember the ‘muzungu’ who worked in their village just under a year ago?
A side note: On Thursday evening, one of our team members became sick during the night. I was alerted in the middle of
the night by his roommate who was concerned by his rapidly declining condition. Rehydration and rest was in order. They did not join us in the village. Later in the day, we decided a trip to the hospital back in Lilongwe was warranted. The good news. . .all test were negative and his severe case of gastroenteritis was self limiting. They had the added adventure of visiting a private medical facility in Malawi. Not a desirable, but different experience for their day.
Today we finished our ‘work’ in Malawi. In just a week, two families will begin their lives in their new safe, decent housing. The orphaned boys that labored alongside us will move with their siblings and mother into a solid 3 room home with a safe pit latrine out back. It feels good to have been part of this process.
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