Today is the day! We will be traveling over 40 hours to get back home. Before we headed to the airport, we took one last stroll around the market where we got rid of the last of our Kwacha. By this time, we had gotten very good at bartering and were able to get what last things we wanted to bring back home. Eric was so good at negotiations, he gave one guy the shirt he was wearing in order to seal the deal. After that, Harriet was asked to trade everything from her shoes to her phone, which she wisely declined.
We were all able to successfully pack our souvenirs in our bags although it definitely took some strategy. Kristen had to carry Eric’s drum in her bag since he had to carry on the first aid backpack (which he later had to be searched and researched in Ethiopia because no one knew that there were two pairs of scissors in pack) and Dorothy made sure to use her new giraffe cane throughout the airport so they would not make her check it. Since security in Lilongwe did not have a scanner, it took a while to convince them that she does indeed have a double hip replacement. We had to say our final goodbyes to Hugo, who so perfectly coordinated all of our affairs before and during our mission. We will definitely miss his infectious warm spirit!
Our first flight stopped in Blantyre before landing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This was a zoo of a flight because no one felt that they needed to sit in the seat assigned to them on their ticket. But we made it through that first leg and now we are about to start our 17 hour flight to D.C. with a stop in Dublin to refuel. We will then have an 8 hour layover before we get onto our flight to KC.
I don’t think any of us will ever be able to adequately express how much this medical mission has meant to us. We had no idea what to expect but nonetheless we all felt the love of God while we were serving the people of Malawi. We are bringing back with us new friendships, knowledge, and appreciation. We have a more enlightened understanding of people who have needs, expectations, and priorities that differ from our own. We are so blessed to have our brothers and sisters in Africa so lovingly invite us to walk with them in their lives for the past 2 weeks. We have learned so much that we will be able to integrate into the way we worship God and serve others at home. What a powerful and valuable experience for us all – COR members and our Malawian family.
Friends and family, we will see you all soon!
Love and Blessings,
Manja a Machiritso