A Day Off: February 2023 Update
It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday. We had power and water at home, so it was easy to make tea and breakfast when I woke up. I listened to the birds and enjoyed the green and the flowers in the yard. Then Greg and I got an early start, we left for the Lilongwe Farmer’s Market just past 8. We arrived while there was still parking, and you could still see the beautiful trees all around as the parking lot hadn’t filled up yet with cars. We walked along some stalls we have seen for many years – our favorite artist with some impressive new works in oil, watercolor, and pencil; the lady who makes incredible bagels; the guy who sells fresh butter lettuce, already cleaned in the bag for 30 cents. Some vendors had finally increased their prices after the devaluation of local currency by about 50% in the last year. Our favorite basil garlic dressing is about the same price it was last year, but eggs and pastries and honey is much cheaper in comparison.
There were some new stalls this time - a lady selling freshly made peanut butter for about a dollar a pound; a group making fresh unscented body moisturizer using local ingredients; a leatherworker with products which were a bit beyond my budget or current needs. I splurged on a new pair of earrings and some sizeable tubs of moringa and neem powder- supplements considered to help build immunity and health – all for under $2 each. There are some more expensive things – bean to bar Malawian chocolate truffles are almost $3 for a 4-pack, but worth the investment once a month in my estimation.
Greg and I sit down at a table and order a tea and a coffee. Prices haven’t gone up in the nearby restaurant, so we’ll pay just over $1 for both drinks. By the time we sit down, the market is starting to swell with almost every diplomat and expatriate in the city, and some of the surrounding areas. I recognize many of the people – a large percentage have come to consult me in clinic over the years. I see a group of our friends walking over and I wave. They have just arrived, and are happy to join us at our table between browsing the stalls. We talk about the market and about trips home and about our ministries and about health and about our spouses and about nothing in particular. Normally Greg is in a rush to leave the business of the market, but he knows most of these people and enjoys sitting and chatting. We see Wanda, who came to the city in her new car; we see our friends who rarely leave their own business; at first we are excited to see them walking along the stalls, until we realize they are working, planning which new products to bring to their store. We eat a baguette; we move around the table as the sun changes.
After two hours at the market, we collect our many purchases and go home. It is a restful rest of the day, with reading and napping and iced tea, snacks and a show or two. At dinnertime we go to a friend’s house for dinner, chatting, and watching some TV shows from the 1970’s. I feel rested, I feel fulfilled. I know that life is not always like this, not always restful, not always surrounded by those who care for you. In some ways we dwell in abundance here, able to take days off and buy comparative luxury items at a market. I hope that this day will build strength and resilience for the days to come, days when everything might not be so sunny and bright. But boy, it sure was a nice day.
This month, please continue joining us in prayer for as Christina recovers from further illness Greg begins teaching in the new semester.
Thank you for your prayers and support, - Christina + Greg