Fish Must be Kept in the Fridge

November 1st, 2010

Went to a Catholic Misson in the hills . 200 years oldFounded by the White Fathers. One of them is famous in Malawi..

for not exactly holy reasons. Mostly unholy reasons.

Like becoming more Malawian than a Malawian.

Too secret to tell…but he is also an artist.

A good artist.

Sitting in  the church feeling a desperate need to connect.

Kept closing my eyes to pray. No way it was going to happen.

Too much going on around me.It was a mass of thanksgiving for the local school children after their exams. The whole school formed the choir. It was  powerful. And moving. I am sure you could hear them in Tanzania.They must have practiced for weeks.

They sang loud and clear. 200 children.

The singing….the heat; the Sunday clothes…the babies sleeping.

And a priest speaking Chiweoan in a Kerry accent!


There are moments here that are good and this was a good moment. Over a Fanta, l asked the handsome Kerry priest has he seen any changes in Tansania or Malawi since he came in 1984.

‘None - Its the same’

That’s worth thinking about.

Yesterday a bridal party arrived to have their photos taken in a ‘pretty place’. Small car and out hopped…Granny, Mums-in –law, bride, groom, 3 brides maids, a best man, and the driver.

The local football team were getting ready to leave the village to “take down” the neighbouring village. They sang and beat their drums for the newly weds.

The bride was beautiful. It took me a little time to see the groom among the gold taffetta and crisp white shirts.

And when l did…l got a fright. He was so  ill .

Disease has ravaged him. Cancer? HIV? Both?

He was tiny in his white wedding suit.

His shoes looked like cartoon shoes and he could hardly walk.

He held his friends arm.

I looked away.

Have meet some very funny patients.  “Mr. Big Leg” is my favourite.

A  poor man livining in a roofless hovel. He has elephantititus in his legs. He has lesions all over  his body .

Lucy and l found him in the bus shelter. (Another long story).

The hospital told him in 2003 that they had to amputate his leg.

He never went back. Now after a few days of food and medicine

(not to mention many showers) l asked him how he was feeling.

“Wonderful…wonderful…but Rome was not built in a day “ in a deliciously superior accent.

Love it.

New volunteers arrived. A lovely New Doctor from Wales and her partner who’s a Wizard disguised as an IT man .

He rides a unicycle!

He rode it home last week in the late afternoon sun.

I drove behind him. He made everybody laugh along the way.

Young children ran after him..old women just rocked on their porches in laughter, young men caught up with him on their bicycle’s and overtook him literally convulsed with laughter. Old men just stared.

And he waved for everybody.

Must be  a Wesh thing!!

What a great gift….

Our Bendictine Monk had a tough week. The little girl he looks after has maleria. She was very ill.

He wanted to fly her to another country for treatment but was persuaded to keep her here. Too sick to fly.

They brought her to the District Hospital and hooked her up to an IV drip. He would not stay the night though. The little girl could have picked up a host of other diseases.

They brought the drip home and a good friend with medical training adminstered to her through the night in her own bed.

Did not have a good supper last night.

I kept seeing a man with three fish in his hand all day. In the garden.

In the hall. In the wood turners hut.

In the street. All day.

There were 3 of us for supper last night.

We had one fish each.

I recognised those fish .

In the 40 degrees heat. For hours. Hmmm.

There is only one psycharitrist in all of Malawi.

What happens if you need help?? Where do you go??

(Maybe l need one!)

Will spend time with the Tuesday Trust ladies this week.

Getting ready for the rainy season.

This is a busy time.

Rains come end of November.

Everyone’s out digging .

The monkeys are still driving the dog wild.

I wake at 5 with the birds.

And that’s beautiful.

And there is a Frangipani growing near my window.

And l love it.

Going home next week for 10 days.

Beyond excited.

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