This was the address on the letter I received from my favorite family in Madisi.
Carrot, his Mother and his brother Stephen, and their younger siblings have played a significant role in my experiences and life in Madisi.
The are my neighbors, they live on less than $1.25/day. They are practically raised by a single mother, since daddy is practicing polygamy and is usually out of the house.
Mom is a provider, trying as she sells groundnuts, and offers herself to do piece work within the community, resiliently, she smiles.
The Ibrahim family, and their smiles, oh my goodness, they are contagious. Carrot and I initially met back in 2010, when his smile captured me from across the room, and commanded my smile back. Now, I have memories of sitting inside on the simple bamboo mat in one of the two rooms of their mud/brick house, by candle light — telling stories. My Malawian momma, as I call Carrots’ mom, illuminates this small room, and humbles me with her words, as she calls me family, banja (in chichewa), O’hana (in Hawaiian, one of my favorite ways to say it). We sat, and she shared how she was scared to see me leave June 2012, and how she was worried, she would never see me again.. She faithfully prayed and thanked God for bringing me into her and her families’ life. She told us this, and I felt her love. My heart felt.
She then let me introduce Ally and Holly, and with Stephen and Carrot helpfully able to translate, they were interpreting the girls’ stories into Chichewa. I was sharing how Holly re inspired the faith I had, in order to trust God, that coming back was in His plan. I shared how Holly had never been on a plane, yet had met friends in the U.S. that were from Malawi, and how she wanted to see the impact they are making in their own communities around Malawi. As for Ally, she has always dreamed of coming to Malawi; she has been praying for this country since she was a child. Her family was connected to a couple who served as missionaries in Malawi, hence, all the prayers. All this was shared, and translated and love was lit up in the eyes of mom, Carrot, Stephen, Ally, Holly and I. Pure joy was abound, and I am constantly thanking God for that night, and the unplanned moments in our trip, that made it more worthwhile.
Leaving Madisi, after 8 days was particularly difficult for my team, since they were absolutely in love, and impressed by the RiseMalawi Ministry and the impacts they are making on the young people. We said goodbye at camp, but could not leave without visiting our family, one last time.
Me and my Brothers..
Carrot in Red, Stephen next, Holly, Ally and Shebo the younger brother.