• Nora


Updated: Apr 19, 2020

Rammy is one of the kindest and wisest men I've met anywhere. He is one of the Friends of Prisons, like Lyca, who sees it as his calling to visit the inmates regularly, praying with them and leading them in Bible study. When I first arrived in Malawi after our holiday and Steve's surgery, and while Steve was still recovering in South Africa, I had no idea how I would get to the prison three days later to start my work teaching the inmates. Blair Bertrand assured me that I didn't have to worry, that Rammy would pick me up. I had a vague recollection that we had met a man who was part of Friends of Prisons, but I would not have been able to recognize him in a crowd.

But, early the next Monday morning, a decrepit old truck pulled up outside our gate. In it was Rammy, welcoming me with his kindly smile and a cheerful good morning. This was only the first of many days that he drove me, and when Steve arrived, the two of us, to the prison for our work there.

It wasn't until later, when Steve had returned from South Africa and we were looking for a vehicle of our own, that I realized that Rammy lived an hour away from us. So for three or four weeks, three days a week, he had driven an hour to pick us up, and driven us the ten minutes to the prison, waited for us to finish our teaching (working on his Friends of Prisons work in the meantime), and driven us back home before either continuing with yet another prison visit or going back home an hour away. When I protested that this was a great inconvenience to him, Rammy assured me that it was a pleasure, that as part of Friends of Prisons he felt responsible for getting us there to Malawi and therefore was glad to host us. He wouldn't hear of us taking a taxi. So until we found a vehicle of our own, Rammy made the trip to ferry us back and forth to Chichiri prison three days a week.

While Rammy drove, we talked, and I grew to respect and love him. He is one of the people I miss sorely now that we are no longer in Malawi. The last evening we saw Rammy, at the farewell dinner including our best friends there, we were talking about the pandemic and how scary it was. Rammy admonished us to act out of "faith, not fear". I have been trying to follow that admonition ever since. Not that I believe we should be foolish, but having an attitude of faith rather than fear changes one's outlook quite dramatically. And Rammy certainly lives his faith. It must be very hard on him not to be allowed to make his prison visits right now, since prisons have been closed to visitors. I just pray that he will be safe and healthy and be able to return to his work when the prisons reopen.

Steve and I in the room at Chichiri where Rammy would wait for us.

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