All I wanted for Christmas was to talk to Neicia. And I got it! Let me share some of our conversation with you.
People. Neicia loves Malawi and she loves the people there. They’re completely mesmerized by her light coloring and especially light, soft, straight hair. She says people often fall or lose their balance in order to “accidentally” touch her hair. The kids love her (nothing new from the kids here). She’s looking forward to some adorable kids, Prince and Angela, getting baptized.
She often gets proposals. When we were talking to her she mentioned she’d only had two that day so it was a good day. She was giving a little girl a piggy-back ride and a guy stopped her and asked if the little girl was hers. She said no but also made the mistake of saying that she wasn’t married. He told her he would marry her. She told him she’s not getting married anytime soon and told him she’s on a mission. He insisted so she told him she’s serving God for 18 months. He told her he’d wait for her. At least he’s persistent.
She deals a lot with drunk men. This is new territory for her. She’s had a few experiences where they’ve threatened her, gotten mad at her etc. Most recently a man was upset because she wasn’t paying enough attention to him and threatened to kill her. She got out of the area. She seems to be mostly amused so far. I guess by the time they’re showing these ridiculous behaviors they’re so drunk they can hardly move. I admit it makes this mom a little concerned.
I gave her my promise ring, which is a gold CTR ring. She had wanted it for quite a few years. She’s decided to take it off, at least when she goes out. She was on a bus and felt very uncomfortable when people all around her stared at it. She said it was creepy and she was afraid someone would try to take it. Also, they think she’s rich because of it. The people there can’t afford jewelry like that. People want her to give them money or jobs quite often. Having a gold ring makes it more difficult to convince them that she has no money and can’t hire people.
The kids are taught to beg. They come up to her with their hands out. She’s figured out that if she hands them pass along cards it confuses them and they leave with the card but bewildered. She’s given out all her Costco sized gum stash and stickers. And she left with a lot of both of those. She was excited to find out we sent some kids sized CTR adjustable rings. She says she’d love more. Each ring is not too expensive at $1 a piece but they sure add up when you buy them in bulk. We’d love to send her more. Keep your fingers crossed. I’m starting to look for deals.
Christmas. We sent her a couple packages for Christmas. If we’d have known in advance that they’d take at least 2 months to get there we’d have at least sent Christmas to her at the mission home before she ever left. She didn’t seem to mind at all though. In fact she decided to not open when they arrive, but on April 6th. I’m hoping she gets both packages and one isn’t lost in the mail. There is one very cute rain boot in each package. I think she’ll need them both.
Sister Browning was feeling festive and decided to have a little piece of home in her celebration so in the spirit of our white Christmas she donned her sweater and hat and set out in over 90 degree weather. I’m sure they all thought she was crazy.
Food. Neicia clarified a story for us. Not long ago she ate goat intestines and whole little fish. The cook was a sweet lady who wanted to feed the “Azungu.” Neicia and her companion were going to teach this woman her first lesson. She asked Neicia what kind of meat she’d like. Neicia didn’t want to ask her to make something expensive. Meat isn’t cheap. She looked forward to her chicken dinner all day. When she arrived it wasn’t chicken at all. She’s not sure why the change in meat but she had a real interesting experience.
She mostly eats fruit. One of her favorite foods is mangoes. This was something she was very excited about going to Africa for. She says she eats 7 or 8 per week. She loves to shop at the fruit stands. Her companion is native and does most of the cooking. The kids start learning to cook at about 4 years old so she knows what she’s doing and doesn’t mind. The thing she misses most is milk. The only milk she’s found there is canned. She says she hates it so bad she can’t even eat cereal anymore.
Language. Her accent was fun to listen to. At first the family was surprised she could have an accent after just being there for a month. Then I recalled a time I worked for a market research company and we called the south for a few days. It wasn’t more than just an hour or so I started to pick up on the southern accent. Neicia’s accent is much about her inflections. It’s a lot of fun to listen to. She wasn’t nearly as bad as a sister missionary we talked to for a minute from Alpine.
Christmas was a lot of fun. Now starts the countdown to Mother’s Day!