By Jessica Porter
Hello from Malawi! While prepping for this trip I was told Malawi is also called “The Warm Heart of Africa.” I had an idea in my head of what that might actually look like but experiencing it first hand was a whole other story. To say the people here are welcoming is an understatement. They look at you with love in their eyes and always greet you with true sincerity. Every encounter with one of the nationals feels like a demonstration of God’s gentleness and kindness.
Our trip is a unique one because Market Colors is here partnering with the Widows Program of Children of the Nations to create new products and further enhance the skills of the widows. We are working on about 9 different products and we’ve been split into groups to better focus on specific products with the widows. My group is in charge of leading instruction for the laptop case and tote bag. Teaching the skills it takes to make these products to the widows is truly inspiring. They observe intently and are extremely eager to dive in and start working on the product themselves. It’s been really moving to witness their sense of community as they work. It’s an “all hands on deck” sort of situation. One woman will measure while another marks the fabric, then another woman will jump in with the scissors to begin cutting, and yet another will reach out to take the lead on sewing. They work together as one, all huddled together over one stretch of fabric or one sewing machine.
I had a really special moment after I had shown them a particular skill with the laptop case and I was able to hand over the task to them. As they worked I took a second to look around and realize: I wasn’t an outsider, I was sitting in this circle with them, pouring over the same task and working toward the same goal. They had invited me to be a part of their precious community. It was the most beautiful and peaceful moment for me.
There have been so many amazing moments on this trip so far. Overall, each one is covered with joy. There is joy in their singing and celebrating as well as in their working. I’ve been so inspired by these women and encouraged by this trip and by how God is moving here in Malawi. I’m so honored that He has blessed me with some time here in “The Warm Heart of Africa.”