Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Holidays!

I hear that the snow has been falling, I’m sure that the carols are playing, the lights are up and the malls are crazy right now. In Machinga, however, it’s hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner. There’s no snow… but rain (but the good news on that is, the maize is getting bigger and greener each day!), no power… so no Christmas music or lights and no television or radio to be bombarded with Christmas commercials. I am missing the usual excitement that always surrounds this holiday season and I will definitely be missing being with family and friends this year.

Despite the lack of fuss and fanfare, Christmas is celebrated here but it is not the massive event that it is at home. I’m not even sure that Nixon and Catherine know that the big day is next week! Here, the holiday is more focused around the religious meaning rather than presents and Santa Claus. Although I will not be at home this year, I am really looking forward to seeing how the holiday is celebrated here in Malawi. True to the family nature of the holiday, I will be spending Christmas with my “family” in Machinga, accompanied by my boyfriend from Canada who arrives in 2 days (not that I’m counting!). From what I hear there will be a big party at church on Christmas Eve, where we stay up late, singing and dancing. On the big day, we will be making some traditional Malawian dishes and sharing them with family friends who’ll drop by. Although the kids aren’t excited just yet, I can only imagine the running around and laughter with the string of visitors. It will definitely be a different holiday this year but I am very excited nonetheless.

I don’t have any physical presents to share but to give you a little picture of life here I wanted to just share part of a list I have going in my journal. It’s a list entitled, very simply, “Things to be happy about…”, and who’s not happy at Christmas? Every so often a small gesture or little thing catches me off guard and makes me smile so I try to write them down. Here’s just a few. Hard to picture maybe but I hope they make you smile…
  • Florence singing
  • Fireflies
  • Nixon singing and dancing in the morning
  • The full moon so bright you can see shadows
  • Kids starting to join me on my runs in the morning
  • Nixon and Catherine yelling "Auntie!" and running to give me hugs when I get home from work
  • The smell of eucalyptus
  • Little plumber butts peaking out from the back of ripped dresses
  • The sight and sound of crackling bush fires on the hills of Machinga at night
  • The way everyone calls me “madam”
  • The sound of kids playing and babies crying as it carries over the valley
  • Kids walking with their arms around each other
  • Hearing the thump of mangoes falling off the tree at night
  • The way the clouds and sun in the hills make them look different every morning
  • The view over Chagwa from the Machinga hill

My heart and thoughts are with all of you this holiday season. Have a safe and happy holiday. All the best for a wonderful start to 2008!

2 comments:

Michael King (MUN chapter) said...

Heather,
that little list gives me a great window to what you're seeing and interpreting during your OV placement. I'll be sure to share it with everyone at a meeting sometime. THAT sort of thing could really bring your placement back to MUN before we start the "learning" part of the LP.

-Mike

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