Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Singing Your Heart Out

On my last Sunday in Malawi I went with a couple of friends to a gospel singing afternoon.  As we drew up at the venue, there was a palpable buzz of excitement as crowds of people were wandering into a massive marquee.

Inside, the space was completely packed with families, teenagers, babies on their mothers' backs, it was standing room only.  The crowd spilled into the area outside.

It was extremely hot, but that didn't stop the good natured crowd from dancing energetically and singing their hearts out.  The bands were very professional, and the singers bounced in unison from one side of the stage to the other (one was wearing a jumper, I was full of admiration).  The singing was really loud, but then one of the men on stage said, 'Remember, you are singing for Jesus!' and the place went wild.  I wouldn't have been surprised if the roof had taken off.  It was a fabulous afternoon, and a great taste of the real Malawi, one I hadn't really seen yet.  Malawians certainly know how to have fun.  This event takes place every week, which is amazing.  We in the UK could really do with something similar, but I think we are probably a bit too uptight to join in so whole heartedly.

It was a great end to my stay in Africa, and made me wish I had discovered it earlier.

After a twenty hour journey, I have found my way back to the UK.  It is rather sad that my suitcase didn't feel like joining me, but that is the way these things go I suppose.  I think it is probably continuing the holiday feel somewhere in Africa.  The girl at the check in desk in Lilongwe was holding two luggage labels at one point, and looking confused.  I didn't say anything as she then looked decisive and attached one to my case. It's odd what I will miss, the main problem is my travel journal for the whole year was inside, and that is not replaceable.  Everything else can be re-bought, although at some effort (my driving licence is a particular bother).

It was wonderful to see my son at the airport, his first comment was, 'Don't you have a big suitcase?'.  We went off for a conciliatory full English breakfast which definitely helped.  The silly thing is, on the flight I was worried about whether he would remember to empty the car boot to fit it in.

I will be thinking a great deal about Malawi over the coming weeks, and try to make sense in my head of all the conflicting aspects of life there.  I will also miss all the warm and gentle people I met.

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