One of the most honest windows into an area is what you hear at night. Gunshots. Cars Honking. Crickets. What you hear when you really listen at night is unadulterated and unfiltered. I'm more guilty than most for not taking the time to listen but I've been blessed to have the next 5 weeks to sit in the stillness that is Blantyre.
As I type here in the Hutchinson family living room, I don't have to listen too hard to hear Blantyre's music of the night - choirs singing. I'm at least a couple miles from wherever the sounds are emanating from but they find a way to pierce through the wind and into this room. It's not just any choir music though. It's music that feels uplifted. Joyful. It's music that you don't have to be of a particular faith to appreciate.
I've only been in Malawi for about 7 hours but from my short stint meeting people such as the infamous Blessing (Hutchinson's jack of all trades gardener extraordinaire), random house guards, or the guard who searched my bag at the airport who said "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, eh?" (I replied "....sort of") - people here are different. It's not the polite, routine greetings we have back in Seattle. When someone talks to you they're really talking to you.
There has been other sounds during the night recently back at home. That of TV sets covering Ebola coverage. It would be a disservice to the petrified if I didn't touch on it at least a little. Curiously, Beth and I both had our temperatures scanned upon entry into Blantyre. One of the other travelers told us that pictures weren't allowed but I was able to get a couple in prior to that. I'm happy to report I dot have a fever and am not worried about Ebola. I'm more focused on the large spiders who's reputation precede them. I haven't seen one yet but I'm most assuredly hyper vigilant at this point. My plan is to just hurry up and see one to get it over with. Rip of the bandaid quickly.
Tomorrow we head off to Queens hospital to see the wards. The stories I've heard from Elizabeth are harrowing. It's not a place for the faint of heart and is something I'm sure will continue to shape my outlook on our global community. It's truly an honor to be here with Elizabeth and her family. Her tour de force effort to make this opportunity a reality is one that I know is appreciated my all of us R3's.
After 30 hours of traveling, I'm exhausted and look like death. But I hesitate to sleep knowing that there's so much to soak up here. Can't wait to see what tomorrow holds for us...
as long as that thing isn't a large spider at my bedside.
-Ben Davis, SFH R3