Christmas eve 2017

I went swimming this morning with Gift, Arinaphie, Labecka and their little sister Luthy. I spent 2 hours teaching them each how to dive.  Remembering my dad’s instructions from my own youth as I watched them clumsily take mouthfuls of water over and over… when they finally understood the mechanics and each did a decent dive, I called it a day. I was alarmed at how they begged me to go on. They even grabbed my ankles and dragged me back as I was trying to leave! Of course i screamed bloody murder the whole way and they laughed but we really did have to go. Invited to Gifts grandmother’s house for lunch!  Rice, green beans, cabbage, and beef…  mostly I just like playing with her one eyed cat. (Who just had a kitten a week ago… pray I don’t take it)

I brought a small solar light, 2 bars of soap, a big live chicken, and treats for the kids.  After eating and gifts, I did some gardening with her grandmother. I talked for a long time with her uncle who lives in South Africa but wants to open a bakery in town! A REAL bakery!! With sweeties and fresh bread! 🙃 I really enjoy taking to him. I learned so much. Apparently he and his sister (Gifts mother) were incredibly close. Best friends from a young age. I have met him several times but we usually are talking about what new trouble Gift is in. Today I asked about Gifts mother. I found out she was a lot like me!  Really!  He says that she was a take charge type of girl (which is rare in Malawi). She always managed everything and the uncle said he owed much of his life’s success to her hard work. “How did she die? Can I ask that?” I asked softly. I had always been curious but truth is that it hasn’t ever really mattered. I know the farther was sick, malaria I think… But I don’t know about the mother. He told me a hard story about it. She was full pregnant when the child died in her tummy.  They did an operation and removed the baby but the surgery was bad and within a day she had 2 more surgeries. They gave her a new bag of donated blood every half an hour before she finally passed away. The uncle told me that he was in such shock that he didn’t even feel the loss.  He couldn’t make himself feel. He even had to help push her body to the mortuary.  He said he remembered it was so cold in the room where he had to leave her that he left quickly. A few weeks passed before he woke up in a cold sweat and called his mother to say, it’s to cold in the room where I left her how can she manage in a room so cold? Then it finally hit him and he realized she was gone. He told me that he was a wreck for a month. Then he says something beautiful. “It’s a wonderful thing when you can smile again after you mourn. As if the whole world is a little less painful because you know your best friend is waiting for you.” 

All I can think about is Jesus. How I can continue to mourn someone who died so long ago, and yet keep blessed assurance that my best friend is waiting for me. 

I came home to find a black bag tucked in my purse, big white mushrooms from Gifts grandmother! Best mushrooms ever! I don’t even like mushrooms but these are firm not mushy, not musty tasting but a fresh clean taste, and so meaty! We put them in a simple red sauce over pasta and watched “ever after” the Cinderella story with Drew Barrymore, Gift cried the whole movie. “Did you like it?” I asked

“Eh.” Came a small squeak of “yes”

“Are you sure? It looks painful!” Pointing to the tears all over her shirt. She laughed and hid her face embarrassed.  We left dinner to clean itself up, which it never does, and tucked into our nets. Such a day deserves a story but also deserves full attention. This day was brought to you by being present. Where ever you are this holiday, get off your phone and be there.

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