So long..farewell..aufweiterzen goodbye…

11 08 2007

Then: Three months ago, I entered into the Gulugufe village, my eyes saturated with tears. I’d like to believe that it was from the dusty roads traveling to the village, but honestly, the tears were from feeling pretty desolate and isolated from the rest of the world. I had no idea where I was or who these people were living in the village and I couldn’t understand even the simplest greetings!

 

I waved goodbye to who once were strangers but became my family, my community and my friends for the last 3 months on Sunday. But before then, we had a formal ‘celebration’ with the Senior Chief for the region to send me off on my way. It consisted of the village (37 people) sitting together under the cool shade of the trees with the men and I sitting in the chairs. The ladies and children sat in on the mat. First, the Senior Group gave a speech along the lines of “Thank you very much for staying in the village, if you have any problems, please let us know, I’m very happy that you have stayed, please remember the problems faced by your family here.” Agogo (Grandfather) then gave a speech “Napiri, we are very happy to have received a visitor like yourself who have stayed with us here. I’m asking for your forgiveness if the children have touched or offended you in anyway. We’re very sorry for your going and wish you a good journey.” I gave my impromptu speech “Thank you everyone for allowing me the privilege to stay with your families. As you can see from my body, I have been kept very well. The children and the families here have been very hospitable and I have learnt much from all of you (like cooking nsima). I hope you stay very well in the villages and I can’t express how thankful I am for this experience and opportunity for working and living with you”…

 

We ate chicken and nsima for lunch and that was that ceremony.

 

I, of course, in the tradition of having a Foodfest annually, had to throw a Foodfest in the village. There was an entire goat, Irish potatoes, carrots, onions, biscuits, and fanta/sprite/coca. Let me just say that Mpanje is awesome. He helped me locate a goat for 3,500MK (about $30) and biked a total of 60km to get this goat for me! But you know, Charlie, my Cock. Well, we didn’t eat him after all, so he’s living a long and prosperous life in Mwansambo (to the dismay of my carnivorous friends).

 

Now: Three months later, I’m leaving the Gulugufe village, my eyes saturated with tears. I’d like to believe that it was from the dusty roads around the village, but honestly, the tears were from feeling pretty lost, having to leave my home, my family and friends. I had no idea what was going to happen with the relationships that I built with them or what their futures would bring. I couldn’t express my gratitude enough in Chichewa, the local language!

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