• Nora

Independence, step by step

This week we have been making our way into the prison without an escort. They all know us now, know that we are teachers at the school, so they open the doors for us to get in without Rammy being with us. He still has to drive us back and forth, but we are hoping soon to have our own car.

On Tuesday, one of our days away from school, we went visiting with Rammy and Lyca on their regular rounds. I went to the women's section with Lyca, while Steve went to the men's sections with Rammy.

In the morning we were at Chichiri. Different to be there but not at school. Lyca conducted a class of TEEM, theological education by extension, Malawi. They have a book that they read with each other and discuss the Bible passages that are talked about.

n the afternoon, we went to Mulanje, a prison about an hour or more outside of Blantyre. There Lyca conducted a Bible study/worship service with a group of about 10 women. They sang a very enthusiastic welcome song as part of their worship. Beautiful singing! The women really latched onto the Bible story, that of the woman caught in adultery. They commented on the forgiveness of Jesus and on his instructions to "go and sin no more". The story obviously meant a lot to them! Lyca asked me to "encourage" the women, so I said a few words which were translated very capably by one of the inmates.

It was so good to see Lyca in action. I have heard so much about the ministry of the Friends of Prisons, and now I admire that ministry even more.

Another part of the adventure on Tuesday was getting to Mulanje. Rammy said the fuel for the truck for that trip would be too expensive, so we took the Intercity minibus with him and Lyca. It's not something I feel like doing on my own, but I am glad we did it.

The minibus is set up to seat four adults across, with four sets of seats in the main area. There were three in the front, including the driver. Some of the time we had more than 20 people in the bus at once. Rather crowded. The driver is very determined to stay ahead of the traffic, so I guess sometimes minibus drivers go very fast. Our drivers all seemed to go at a reasonable pace, although it was hard to tell as I mostly sat in the far back seat.

Whenever the bus would stop, there were vendors trying to sell their wares to the passengers. Mostly we were not interested, but Steve managed to buy a bag of eggplants and another bag of lemons. They are really good. He also bought a small bag of macadamia nuts to eat on the way. Delicious!

So, Tuesday was a long day but very good. We can now understand better what Rammy and Lyca go through regularly as volunteers. They often pay their own way on these trips. They have a very strong sense of calling for this ministry. And that sustains them through the inconvenience and discomfort of the journey.

The rest of the week was normal. We did our usual teaching and preparing for lessons. I am also making another prayer shawl. I am planning to ask Lyca to help me get rid of them. I already have two and this is a third one. The yarn I got here is fairly fine, so this one is fancy and lacy. I am enjoying making it.

Next week we won't be able to get to school at the prison on Monday. The decision in the election courtcase is being published on Monday and they are preparing for trouble. We will be okay as long as we stay at home in our compound, but Rammy said it wouldn't be safe to go out in the city. We pray for peace. I will let you know next week what happens.

Blessings to you all.

Lyca and I at Mulanje prison with the inmates. Lyca is holding the baby.

My form one class.

I am teaching my form one class.

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