In a few days, I pack my bags up to head to Quito, Ecuador, where I will spend the final three months of this journey.
It’s hard to believe that the last country is quickly approaching, and I refuse to believe that this journey is two-thirds of the way finished, but the Lord reminds me that while this journey may be quickly ending, my journey with him never will.
I have so many mixed emotions about leaving Malawi, as it has become a place that I have learned to call home. As you know, the Lord has done so much in my heart and my life here, but I know that what the Lord has in store in Ecuador is going to be super sweet.
The goodbyes are going to be many, and they are going to be hard. Saying goodbye to my students, the children we live with, the construction men we work with and our hosts is going to crush my heart, but I can leave with the assurance that I have impacted the lives of everyone around me, and I know that the Lord will continue to work in the lives of these people. I leave, but he never leaves, and that is where I find my comfort.
As I sit in my dark bedroom because of no electricity, it suddenly hit me how not normal my normal has become. As I was driving down the road the other day, it also hit me how used to this life I have become. Things that once stood out to me no longer stand out to me. Things that once caught my attention no longer catch my attention. Things that I once saw and raced to pull out my camera I no longer race to pull out my camera.
The Lord opened my eyes to what I have become used to, what I have become numb to. And as I sit here now, I think of all of the things that have forever left an impact on my heart and my life, and I want to share a few of them with you.
In previous African countries, I have met several Malawians. I always wondered why this was, and it wasn’t until I was in Malawi that I fully understood. The corruption in Malawi is very terrible, and everyone is so uneasy in the political world that the people in Malawi are so unhappy here to the point of questioning if God made a mistake making them a Malawi citizen.
I have overheard several conversations about this, and it hurt my heart to think that people question the Lord and where he has placed them because of their political situation.
I also recently had the opportunity to buy a huge bag of suckers. My team and I walked down a road and passed out suckers to each person we saw.
Before I knew it, I was surrounded by grown men who were running toward me begging for suckers, and I have never seen anything like it. Could you imagine grown men running for suckers in America? The amount of happiness and excitement these people had over one sucker was something I will never forget — ever.
At the after school program that we teach at, we get the opportunity to serve bread and juice to them each day before sending them home. It has been a super-sweet opportunity, but what has been even sweeter has been seeing the children receive this food. They bow to us when we serve them food, with one little girl even getting on her knees to receive the food. It was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen.
These students fight to learn in school. So many times, there are children standing outside the classroom windows so they can learn, as well. The students have so much excitement when they get answers correct.
Oftentimes, these children walk miles and miles to and from school each day. These children have to fight for what they want. They have nothing easy. The little girls do things that I would never think about doing, like carrying buckets of water on their heads for miles. My teammates and I were shocked when we saw 7-year-olds doing this, and we miserably failed to do this when we tried. These people are strong. They are tough.
One thing that has stuck out to me the most is that these children have nothing, but they run to the road to greet us as we drive by, and the excitement they get just from a simple wave is enough to touch your heart forever.
These are just a few of the things the Lord has opened my eyes to recently and a few things that have greatly touched my heart. Malawi has been a truly incredible time, and I’m not quite ready for it to be over yet, but I know the Lord is going to do some even more incredible work in Ecuador.
I have been asked several of the same questions by multiple people about this journey, many of which I believe everyone would like to hear the answers to. So my next blog is going to be a question-and-answer blog, answering all of your questions you may have. You can email me any questions you have at keia.blair@ ccuniversity.edu or send me a private message on Facebook. Thank you.
Keia Blair is a Seymour native who attends Cincinnati Christian University.
During her nine-month mission trip around the world, she is submitting a series of blogs that will appear in The Tribune. Send comments to email@example.com.