|Sam's new dining area|
We had hoped to gather for lunch, have the day and then dinner and the night. Things never go just as planned, but that is Africa. Thomas had a funeral he had to attend, so that meant that we had to delay, since Sam’s family and I were driving from Lilongwe to collect Thomas’ family at Liwonde and then go on to get Charles’ at Malosa then proceed to Zomba, an orderly movement south. We needed to delay at Liwonde, so we took the opportunity to make the trip a leisurely drive, stopping a few times and then having lunch at Sam and Lonnie’s newest project, a safari camp at Liwonde. It is under construction, so we roughed it a bit, picnicking on a stone platform that will soon be a dining area for the camp. Who could object to lunching under an ancient tree with an orphaned young elephant grazing just a 100 meters away? This in itself is a birthday gift.
|Margaret and me chatting|
Once we gathered all the family and did our shopping in Zomba, greeted by a number of vendors who remembered me, we headed up the mountain. Silas, Margaret and Sam and Lonnie’s girls were waiting there for us and the celebration began. The guys fired up the grill for the meat and the gals headed to the kitchen for the rest of the meal. Margaret and I were banded from both places, so we played with the grandchildren – hers and mine – and we caught up on each others’ lives. There was chatter and laughter throughout the house and on the lawn overlooking Zomba city below. By the time dinner was ready, it was dark and cooling off, so we lit a fire in the living room fireplace and gathered for prayer and food. The food was abundant and delicious, as was the laughter. Cake, singing and gifts followed. The boys’ families had a dress made for me that fit perfectly. Sam and Lonnie gave me a Dedza pottery round house with a grass roof to remind me of life in Malawi. Then I had gifts for all of them, too. It was fun to reverse the giving tradition.
|The dress from the boys' families|
By the time all this was done, and prayers offered, it was time for bed. The logistics of sleeping took some time to sort out but everyone had a bed, with Sam and Lonnie’s kids opting to sleep in the living room, near the fire. This is something they look forward to at the cottage.
As I drifted off to sleep, I thought what a blessed woman I am. At 65 I am still doing a job that I love and I have good health but the greatest blessing was being with the ones I love, to have sons and daughters-in-law who are like daughters, and grandchildren and good friends to share life with. What a great gift!