Best “meeting” ever! – Connecting with the Baha’is

*tweet tweet* bird of paradise flower
(at a cafe outside of town) ultra-cool tire swing shaped like a horse!

Had an awesome weekend! Went to devotionals at the Baha’i Centre on Sunday, which were a great combination of music, singing and prayers (accompanied by the Centre guard who plays a mean – and by mean I mean happy and faintly Hawaiian-sounding! – guitar). One of the older Baha’is told this simple story which I thought had a good lesson:

Baha’u’llah sent three Baha’is to Egypt with only 1 guinea (= a few dollars) each. When they arrived at Port Said in Cairo, it was lunchtime. They were hungry but realized that if they bought lunch they’d have no money left for dinner or anything else for that matter. They consulted about what to do and decided to spend the money to purchase a few trinkets like combs, hair pins, etc. They each took some, went separate ways and agreed to meet back at 6pm. By then they had sold all the trinkets and had enough money to get them through the next day. They continued this way till they could establish larger businesses, one of which is still there today. So even if you think your resources are limited, don’t worry; use them wisely and trust that things will work out.

Later in the afternoon I finally got to meet a Baha’i, Febbie, who I’d been in touch with over phone. She is so warm and joyful!! She brought me to a small concrete room where about 25 youth were discussing the children’s spiritual education classes in their area. Just to see that many youth gathered together for that purpose showed such capacity, especially as they figured out how to turn their ideas into reality. The discussion leader commented that a certain area didn’t yet have any classes; and within a minute, a girl volunteered to start one. She had one or two kids in mind but casually, not nervously, remarked that she could find more. Her simple “Ok, I’ll do it” represented a commitment that can take weeks or months to garner in other communities! Obviously every Baha’i community is still growing and wherever each is at is fine. But I thought there was a lot to learn from their unhesitating willingness to just try things out.

The best part of the “meeting” came at the end: when the discussion was through, the chairs were cleared away, a laptop and speakers appeared, and a middle-of-the-afternoon DANCE PARTY began! (This was perfect timing for me because I love to dance and every so often get this itch that’s not satisfied till I dance 🙂 ). Met several cool people: Mercy, originally from Malawi but doing her residency in South Africa; Bertha; and Munireh, who would point out whether each song was from Malawi (my favorite!), Zambia, South Africa, or the US (“This is your country!” she’d exclaim, while I cluelessly wondered which famous singer I was behind on. “It’s Jennifer Lopez!” “Ohhh”… 🙂 ). There was an adorable little one who wandered / waddled out onto the floor and, after he finished staring wide-eyed at the strange light-skinned person, looked around and started boppin’! Just goes to show that whatever a kid sees around them they’ll imitate.

Febbie then had about 10 people over to dinner! A few of the youth plus her relatives and their kids:

Some of Febbie’s guests
Taraz stuffing his face 🙂

She prepared so comfortably and stresslessly and we had a great meal. Between this and the dance party, I felt like I was finally starting to leave the ex-pat bubble and see the “real” Malawi.


One thought on “Best “meeting” ever! – Connecting with the Baha’is

  1. Frances

    Dearest Cristina,

    Thanks so much for sharing about your meeting experience and especially for the pictures. Great to see a picture of you enjoying yourself and pictures of your new friends. Makes me “homesick” for West Africa.

    Got back home to Florida yesterday after a terrific visit with Violette, your mom, Liza and other friends. The course I took at Green Acre with Mr. Glenford Mitchell was great and sent me off with new inspiration and guidance. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers and looking forward to your continued news.

    Love, Frances

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