Rob Pfeiffer Blog 12/28/2016 Holiday Studying & Rain Dancing
Yesterday, my English students showed up here, wanting to keep our sessions going during this break from school. They are a dedicated bunch and are doing well in spite of the limitations of their teacher. We sit together for an hour and a half, struggling with the vagaries of the English language. Their pronunciation is so precious as they labor, so I have to suppress laughter.
As the day ends, we gather again for food and sharing and have decided to follow up our Christmas gathering with a New Year’s Day party. It is taking shape nicely and includes four more apple pies (by popular demand I am proud to say!). The local chief has offered to roast a goat as we have billed this event as a potluck. None knew what that was, but the idea seems to be catching hold. I’m planning to quietly eat a big breakfast and coast through the goat dishes, going very lightly. We have invited a local band and chorus to join us and you may be able to hear us as you come home from whatever New Year’s Eve event you attend. There is a seven hour time difference from the east coast. So, please understand that here at the center of all holiday activity, we are whooping it up. That is some of the news from Malawi. Please have a safe and happy holiday.
1/1/2016 We have now completed the full cycle of holiday events here at Holiday Central. We served 48 pieces of apple pie. We used two big metal handled skillets for the big pies (16 pieces each) and two metal serving dishes for smaller pies (eight pieces each). Considering that the concept of potluck never left the ground, we were lucky to have just enough. The local band showed up and added a wonderful traditional tone to the whole event. They dance, sing, and engage the audience in a beautiful way. When they needed a break, we played the radio. Our disc jockey was our own teenager Hassan, one of our scholarship recipients, who leaves for school this weekend. The dancing was a bit self-conscious but got more spontaneous as we went along. The women were particularly shy and only danced as a group while the men danced up a storm (without any women on the floor) most of the time. The expression of the day was “dance like you have no bones!” It was very apt for some of the athleticism on display. The rest of the day (before the party) was spent hauling water up the hill in the trusty wheelbarrow, as well as setting up chairs and tables in the new building which looked great for the celebration. Since we haven’t set up the beds in there yet, there is space for a crowd of this magnitude. The children were again magnificent as they either danced on their own or bobbed about on their mothers’ backs.
I alluded to this new dry period we are experiencing and it is sad to go back to watering trees after the rainy season has started. But, that is where we are, trying to read cloud formations and praying for rain. All our dancing was a big rain dance. The main crop around here is maize and most of the fields are up about two to four inches, so water is critical. Another development is the tying of the goats. Once the corn breaks the ground, the goats are no longer welcome to graze wherever they choose. As a matter of fact, the goats of a local chief were caught in a village field and he was fined two goats for the offense. What is good for the goose is good for the gander as the old saying goes. That is some of the news from Malawi. Happy New Year and may it be peaceful and productive!