About 25 people came this last week to visit one of our friends here from California. They were here to do outreach and short term stuff. A couple of comments that they said, I have thought about allot. One of the comments began was - "I thought we were staying in the village the entire time we are here" My friend had them staying in the ABC Campus Guest Huts and then after 4 days being here they were going to stay in the "village" for 3 days and 2 nights.
A typical village house
So after they went to the village the comment that was made was "OH so that is why we didn't stay in the village the entire time! We wouldn't of made it through the entire week." "It was really hard to stay even one night" Really it is amazing this thing called the "village" and at the same time you see how much you are made of. It is emotionally and physically exhausting when you come from the 1st world and are plunked right down into the 3rd world. As people that have grown up in the 1st world, you can't really take that out yourself. That is our culture - 1st world. It is really ingrained in us. The way we live and the things we are surrounded by. But what that comment has made me think is that It is funny to me that of all of Africa- village life is all that is shown to the rest of the world. Urban African is never shown. Cities never shown - A normalish grocery store - never shown. (When Madonna comes to visit here Lilongwe. She stays at a really nice lodge that some real nice people from South Africa built. - Ok side note... Bob and I went out there (were Madonna stays) for a 2 day get away. it is about 45 min from town and there is a horse farm next to it and a huge area to hike and bike around. Super nice place to stay. They had wonderful food and they had a huge flat screen TV in the lounge and we watched Animal Planet and a movie.... Cozy beds and amazing bath tubs and showers. Anyways- the only problem I had was that they played the greatest hits of Madonna at the restaurant the entire time. Ok back to my original thought) But when Madonna comes The paparazzi only shows her out in the village. They don't show anything else but the village. So the perception and I am was so guilty that this Continent is entirely a huge village. It isn't. There needs to be an expose done on Urban Africa. But who wants to see that. The rest of the 1st world are the ones who want to see the village so that is what is seen. I thought when I would be moving to Africa - I would be living with my cow for milk and trying to wash my clothes by hand. Ahhh I have about 6 different places I shop at and I have an amazing washing machine. Of course we do have other aspects of life that are more complicated then we are used to but really to. But we don't live in the village. We live with about 150 college students and about 75 Americans and 40 other Malawians on this 50 Acre campus. We are a village but an urban village. I teach the senior college girls and I think they are more urban than me. Many of the them grew up with TV in their room. I think that is more urban than me. They have travelled to the UK and many other western areas in the world and they get it. The media even National Geographic shows the village and fyi - Africa is more than just a village! Anyways- I just have thought about that comment alot.
Along with that comment came another. They got out of the bus that brought here to ABC from the airport and immediatlelty were saying" We can't take pictures of where we are now because it is too nice" Ok this was made about the housing that was provided by ABC for short term teams ( the guest huts)
ABC Campus Guest Huts
What are we thinking that we can't show the rest of the world that something is Nice in Africa. Are you supposed to suffer on mission trips. When we show people the pictures of the missions trip and how we "roughed it"! Does that make it a better mission trip that you had to sleep on the ground? I think it would make you more crabby! Why do you have to suffer to make it sound that you did it. You survived. Go on Survivor to suffer and survive! A missionary as God calls us - A Real Missionary: is not someone who is suffering and showing the world we are able to handle survivor.... but it is to share the gospel by going out unto the world and sharing how Christ changed your life from the inside out. We have this mentality that you have to go and suffer to be a real missionary. Maybe going out just means going out your front door. I maybe called a "missionary" over here and have a bad attitude and really have a fake walk with Christ. I will not accomplish what He has called me to do. First love God , and then love His people. Simple and yet so many days I should just stay inside my house and not come out until it's not about me but about what He is doing. Yep. I still am not perfect. :)
Just some side notes on life. Some days- I really think that Africa is amazing and so different of what I had thought and many times it is what I thought. Other days I am so ready to have comforts and run home to my mama! I have learned so much African culture and at the same time I know nothing. So this journey that I am on it is ever changing. I wake up loving it all and then I can go to sleep dreaming of home and familiarity. Then I realize one day that this is home and within that one day I feel like a stranger. It is one thing to visit and then go back to home , but to stay. That is where you see what you are made of. ( I personally am not impressed with myself most days. For some reason I thought I was tougher and not so crazy! ) I love the story that God is developing and somedays I just want to stay in bed.... Oh well- Thanks for reading my thoughts on life.... Amy Louise