Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Sleepover in Kamanzi

When New Hopers hosted Jane, Christina, and Bornface in our homes in Calgary, we were invited to spend some nights in their homes when we returned to Malawi. Three committee members made good on their offer on Saturday night.

Christina hosted Heather and Wendy in her home. The language barrier proved challenging, but they sang and danced until dark (they started at dusk).

Ken stayed at Benson's home and was the last to be dropped off. We had gotten a late getaway from Lilongwe that afternoon and unfortunately arrived in the village quite late. Ken was greeted with flashlights and settled in after a meal and some visitors. Benson and several of his friends speak English moderately well, so they were able to enjoy some conversation.

I (Zaak) was hosted by my friend Bornface (pronounced Boniface), the chair of the committee. Anticipating that Jeff was going to be on the team, he had remodelled his home by adding a guest room, complete with new window, door, and best of all a bed with a mattress (everyone else in the family sleeps on a mat on the floor). Of course Jeff did not visit Malawi this year, so I was able to enjoy his careful and very large generosity.

Upon arrival, I was presented with the use of an LED flashlight, showed my room where I deposited my things, the ecosan latrine, and the bathing area. I was given use of flip flops and handed washing gear so I could bath before supper.

I was joined at the supper table by the whole family: Bornface, his wife Salina, daughters Sinai and Besita, sons Brenard, Lordwell and Marco. The table was lit by two battery powered LED lights apart from which we would have been eating in complete darkness. Everyone carried dishes of nsima, rice, chicken, greens and just for me - a loaf of bread and a little tub of butter to the table. Sinai said grace in impeccable English and we enjoyed a supper together which will forever be etched in my mind as one of the kindest and beautiful gestures I have experienced.

Traditionally, Malawians do not eat with their guests, at least not the women and children. Bornface really liked how we all ate together in Calgary, and so he decided to risk breaking tradition when he hosted me. I also learned that his three sons have learned to cook - another parting with the old ways.

The children went to their lodging (boys and a coupled male cousins in one room in a separate building) and Sinai and Besita in the other. Salina, who has an infectious smile, and Bornface chatted with me until about 10 pm - I'm guessing that is quite late. I retired beneath a carefully prepared mosquito net where I added a few thoughts to the sermon I preached the next morning. 

With the exception of a bit of dog barking/howling, I slept very well until dawn (5:30). I think I beat Bornface up, but not by much. Besita was already cooking breakfast and Sinai was washing up the pile of dishes from the night before. Bathing water was again prepared for me (a big tub of very warm water) and so I obligingly bathed again.

Strong tea and more bread and butter were served at around 6:30. Loda, another committee member, joined us and we visited some. Bornface then took me on a tour of his village which is populated by his parents, his many brothers and sisters and their families. Everyone was up and about and working. This is some of what I saw.

(Bornface and his parents)

We got back to his home and another meal was waiting for us to eat at 8 am: tasty rice and chicken. I was whisked away too soon by our driver along with Bornface and Salina and we went to church.

I am so humbled by their example of hospitality.

1 comment:

  1. What a memorable and lovely experience Zaak! Thanks for sharing, and thanks for posting a picture with you in it :)