My Heart in Africa
Welcome to 2013! Chaka Chabwino!
It has been a busy two and a half weeks since Christmas and I am living proof of the statement, “I need a vacation after my vacation.” Along with fighting a bit of the stomach flu, that is precisely the reason I have chosen to not return to work until Monday instead of pushing myself to go in this morning.
We went to a resort for two days at New Years and enjoyed buffet dinners of American style food, and lounging by the pool side. I got incredibly sun stroked and sun burnt the first day, which meant I didn’t bother indulging to the same degree the next day at all. I simply sat in a covered area and enjoyed the view of Lake Malawi!
Every time I saw a giraffe, I squealed with delight. I had my camera set on “continuous” shutter so I have about ten of the exact same pictures of every animal. If I piece them together, they would make a quick film – like the elephants trunk full of grass curling into its mouth, or the family of giraffes walking out of my frame one slow step at a time.
I wont bore you with all these photos, but I have posted a whole bunch that you can look at here:
The tour guide stepped in, and managed to get my passport stamped and extended. However, he neglected to tell me until we were driving away, that he had lied through his teeth to the agent in order to get her to sign it. Great, just what I wanted!!! All to just avoid giving her the money she was hinting at wanting in order to grant me my perfectly acceptable and legal entrance! BAH!
Anyway, friends, I want to get to the part that is actually the most important of the last two and a half weeks. My hairdresser – Everjoy – has become a very close friend of mine in the last month. The first day I met her, she offered me her car for to use whenever I needed one. Her family had two, so either I could borrow the car she brought to work each day, and use it during work hours, or we could make arrangements to use the other for the weekends. In fact, it was her car that we used to drive to the Lake for New Years.
But not only that, I’ve enjoyed getting to know her. She took me under her wing, like a long time family friend. I met her children and her Auntie and she told me about her life. The day we ran around town TRYING to get our Yellow Fever Cards, she gave me a hard time for not coming to her first. Apparently she knows someone who knows someone….
She said to me, “MELISSA, when you need something, you need to ask ME! I can help you. I know people!”
To be cared for like that reminds me of my friends back home. People who look out for you and help you out because of the relationship you have with them – not because they want money from you.
She had been driving early in the morning with her sister and co-worker to pick up some extra work. She’d planned to have a vacation starting this Sunday and was eager to make some extra money. There was a child running across the road trying to get to school, and she swerved to avoid hitting them. The car rolled, sending the coworker flying out the back window and her sister who was the passenger broke her neck. Everjoy was killed instantly.
I am hoping to have a chance to visit her .
What can I offer? Not a whole lot, let me tell you. Florence, is in her early 20s and was actually here in Malawi to visit over the holidays. She still lives in Zimbabwe and would have been going home on Sunday with Everjoy. She doesn’t know anyone here and now all of her family, save for her cousin Ellen, is returning to Zim for her sister’s funeral.
There is very little I realize that I can offer at all.
Except for maybe hope. Hope for WHAT? Well that is not the hope I'm referring to.
Hope in WHO – now that is the hope I am speaking of.
See, the way I see it, we are all made in God’s image. We are all His children. And in Him, we have worth. We are valuable simply because He has made us. And when circumstances dictate an inability to offer tangible help, (do I KNOW that Florence will ever walk again? No. Can I bring her sister back? No. Can I take away her hurt and pain? Definitely not), the only thing that I know I can give is the love of Christ.
Florence is loved by God. She is precious in His sight. And that alone compels me to just be available. I have some ideas of how I might be able to help her pass the time, or ease the family’s financial needs right now. But most of all, I just want Florence to know that she is not forgotten. She has not been abandoned by God or His love.
I hope to share with her a smile, a warm hand squeeze, a prayer and maybe some of my time, just so she realizes that she is so very very valuable to our Heavenly Father.
What else can I possibly do?
Friends, I have no eloquent words to finish this post. I feel I should close with something that draws all my ramblings to a nice clean conclusion, tied up with a pretty bow.
But not today.
Today I just sign off.
On assignment in Africa,
Originally posted to My Heart in Africa