January 28, 2005
One of the goals of the Partnership agreement that both Blantyre Synod and Pittsburgh Presbytery signed before we embarked on this exchange, was about Heather and Brooke’s role in the endeavor. It said, “Heather and Brooke will participate in the mission trip in many ways…and will look to develop relationships with the children of Malawi.”
It is my personal (and unbiased J ) opinion that this particular goal has been achieved and exceeded. Heather and Brooke have adapted incredibly well to life here in Malawi. They have tackled all kinds of tasks with a spirit of open-mindedness and enthusiasm (except for 5 hour Celebrations of Worship, which they have had their fill of). They have made friends from all over the world at school, however, one of the nicest things to watch this year has been how they interact with Malawian children of all ages. They do homework with, go out to dinner with, have sleepovers with, play games with, and study the Bible with Malawian young people of their own age. Brooke says she has more friends here than she does in the States.
But the girls also love interacting with the younger children as well. Heather usually has a crowd of kids around her. She loves babies, and holds them whenever she can. Brooke will play ring around the rosy, or king of the hill, or whatever game the children want. At churches we visit, they are mobbed, and delight the crowds of kids with snippets of Chichewa that they have learned.
They also have reached out a helping hand to the children of Ndirande. Each week they assist the disabled children with projects. They can make them smile and laugh much better than the adults who attend.
They will have to tell you in their own words what they have gained from their experiences with the young people here, but watching them interact with Malawian children has been a wonderful lesson in cross cultural communication for me and Dan.