It is evident from talking to Kace, Zeke, and Ashlyn Lott that their summer travel made an impression. It wasn’t the African landscape, the exotic animals, or the unique culture that popped up in talking to them. It was the children of Malawi.
Zeke talked about Lino, who became one of his best buds. Lino spent a lot of time working with Zeke in helping him learn some Chichewa.
“They [the Malawian children] take care of each other,” said Kace when asked about differences he saw in them and his American peers. “You might see a five-year-old taking care of a one-year-old.”
He also realized that entertainment for us in the United States is on an entirely different scale. “I really learned how much we think we need to have to have fun and how little they have to have in order to enjoy life,” said Kace.
It did not escape Ashlyn’s attention that she learned just how devoted the Malawian people were. “They are more Godly in many ways. Church is longer,” she said. “From 10-3 on Sundays, the kids are spending their time in church.”
Ashlyn and her mom bought Chitenje, the traditional cloth wraps. But Ashlyn did not limit her experience to fashion concerns. She also helped put food on the table by killing two chickens herself. So many once-in-a-lifetime-experiences accompanied the Lotts’ trip to Africa. And yet all three hope that they have the chance to return again and again.
The interaction between these Texas schoolchildren and young Yamikani in Malawi summarizes the theme of the trip. Yamikani—whose name means give thanks—spoke his first word while the Lotts were there. How fitting that the word “zikomo” was uttered, “thank you.”