Day 3, First Day in Chilinza Village
At chapel today we broke up into pairs and got to know each other. I paired with Blessing’s wife Fales and found out all about her. Then we quickly headed to Day 1 of teaching at Chilinza village. Chilinza is the tribe that Mosaic has “adopted.” So, each year, we come back to work with them. This is our 4th year there. Again, we were greeted by hundreds of huge smiles and little hands reaching for ours. Before the day could start, we had a meeting and assembly with Chief Chilinza, which was quite interesting. He welcomed us warmly, but quickly switched tunes and essentially reprimanded us for not providing their school with desks we’d previously promised- it was so blunt and intense. But, don’t worry, because as blatant as the Chief was, so was our leader, Pastor Kim. She got up there in front of a council of all men and essentially told them we will get them desks, but they also need to step up and do their part too. Kim is a warrior and diplomat and I am so grateful to be learning from her.
After that, we broke up into our grades and went into our classrooms to start the day. I’m teaching 4th Grade with Kendal and our goal is to get the kids to create the backdrop for a play that the rest of the students will be performing. We started by introducing ourselves and playing a name game. Then, we read our verse, Matthew 5:14-16 and started discussing our theme of light. It wasn’t easy. We’re in a classroom of 85 children who speak Chichewa, a language we can’t even remotely understand. We had two translators with us, both named Mwai (why with an M in front, don’t worry I struggled with saying it too), who helped a lot. But even with them, trying to get these kids- who come from a culture that’s very private- to open up and answer questions like, “How do you let your light shine,” and “When have you felt darkness,” was challenging. They gave beautiful answers, don’t get me wrong, they are so intelligent, but the goal is to dig deeper and truly know their hearts.
Halfway through the day, the girls were taken to a separate room so a team from a company called AfriPads could give them each a reusable pad and teach them how to use it. This was a project that I was very passionate about so I spearheaded finding this company. You see, this is huge, because without the pads, these girls do not have anything for handling their periods. When they reach puberty, they are kicked out of their family’s hut and made to live in a small, separate hut all alone, where they sit and bleed monthly. If that’s not already awful enough, it’s their culture that men can go around and “amte” with whoever they want. So, these young, 13-year-old girls will be in a cold, dark hut all alone and men will come in and have sex with them. In our culture that’s called rape. In their culture, it’s just the normal. So yes, these pads cold prevent all this from happening.
After getting back from the village we all went to get pizza with the ABC students. I bought some of them ice cream and it was touching to see how excited they were. I feel them, ice cream is a necessity for me too.