DO Diaries: Day Ten

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Today we woke up, and after our usual morning devotions, we headed into the office for the start of the day’s meetings. On the way, we saw a group of kids playing football (aka soccer in the US), and we wanted to get some video footage for a future video. It’s always hard to get kids playing on film, because they are more interested in the camera than in playing. But we stopped, and only Dickson and Bre got out to film. The kids did stop playing, but when Dickson explained they wanted to film their game, they got really excited and went back to playing. Their soccer ball was a homemade ball, using a balloon as a core, and wrapped with strips of inner tubes from old tires. The goal was three pieces of bamboo, tied together. I love the simple ingenuity of using what is available to make what is needed. The kids looked like they were having so much fun, and yet it essentially cost nothing. I’m encouraged by DO’s approach to continue working to empower Malawians to solve their challenges. As DO, we can come alongside and provide some technical advice and financial resources, but the goal is to see locals empowered to problem solve. There is so much potential that is untapped in a place like Malawi.

Over lunch, we met with a pastor from the north of Malawi called Pastor Zizi, who is with the Navigators ministry. We had a wonderful conversation talking about how Navigators could potentially collaborate with DO in the Northern Region of Malawi to help share the gospel. Pastor Zizi was excited about the idea, and he’s going to join a LifePump installation that is happening later this week, just after our team leaves for the US. Praise God for such divine appointments and Pastor Nate back in the US that helped make the meeting possible.

I tried a new drink that is made from an amazing tree found in Malawi, the Baobab tree. The tree is amazing, because its trunk can reach 30 feet in diameter, and yet the branches are short. I learned on this trip that it produces a fruit that some people like to grind up and turn into a drink. We saw this in a grocery store. Dickson said he likes it, and so I decided to give it a try too. The drink looks like chocolate milk, but it doesn’t taste anything like chocolate milk. It’s more like a sour energy drink or something. It actually grew on me…it’s fun trying new things even after eight years of coming to Malawi.

We drove back to the office, and being a Saturday night, there were a lot of people on the streets. You can buy anything from bananas to shirts (and much more) from people selling items while you’re sitting in your car, creeping along. There are also many people begging on the street, and it’s hard to know when to help or not. This has been a good discussion with Beatrice and Dickson, understanding their viewpoints. Poverty is a complicated issue, and there aren’t usually any quick or easy solutions. For example, just putting in a pump isn’t enough. Providing a sustainable water supply that people can count on is needed, which is much harder, costly, and messy – but well worth it. At the office, we conducted an audit with the warehouse of LifePump tools and parts, using our flashlights, because the power was being worked on, and concluded with a planning meeting. Our team works so hard here, and we are constantly reminding them to be with their families and get plenty of rest. When you see extreme poverty up close, it becomes personal, a calling, and there’s a real drive to help people and share God’s love.

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