Ingegerd Hjord

Ingegerd Hjord

I’m one of the lucky ones who had a chance to go to Malawi to help install some of the wells that were donated this year.

My daughter Hanna went for the first time last year and she came home changed in her very own way. This inspired me to go when she kindly asked me to and I will be forever grateful.

I have lived in and traveled to many countries in my life but never a country in Africa and never a place where hardly anything is familiar except that the sun rises and the sun sets every day. Looks totally different though but still I knew what was going on!

Malawi is far away and traveling long distances fast is something we do these days. Coming back home though I found that my soul couldn’t catch up, so I’m visiting with the people of Malawi every day learning from their acceptance, their generosity and their kindness.

So many memories and all of them are beautiful.

I remember the second day, we were in the Lake District, and I was driving our designated truck, Matilda. Absolutely brand new, not a scratch anywhere and a delight to drive on the non-existing roads to a village where a well was waiting to be finished. I wasn’t really used to the driving conditions yet and suddenly the narrow path became even narrower since I was going to drive between a big tree on one side and a house on the other. The tree had been trimmed; a couple of thick branches had been cut off although not all the way in to the trunk. I thought I saw a path where Matilda would fit and started driving and suddenly I hear our installers screaming STOP.  I looked out the side and up and saw a branch was inches from taking off the whole extension on top of the truck where we carry the pipes. So I back up and in doing so I get stuck in between the two stumps left from the trimming and driving forward or backward would mean tearing up the sides of Matilda, the brand new truck!

Ingegerd driving 'Matilda'

Ingegerd driving ‘Matilda’

Well, being a woman of action (after all didn’t I build a barn for twenty horses in Sweden in 1984 with my husband?) I immediately saw that it was no big deal and said to our Field Officer ”Well, if we just ask the people who live in the house if we can saw off the rest of the tree stumps we will be out of here in no time and move on to our village”. He smiled and walked up to the house, came back with two older gentlemen each one carrying a home- made ax. They started to hack away on the stumps, that probably had been left there in the first place because they were very big and hard to take off, and half an hour later the last piece of the branches was gone. They smiled gently at us and went back in the house and we could drive away to do what we had come for, to install wells.

Now that was a learning experience and unfortunately two kind Malawians had to work hard in the humid, hot midday sun for me to understand the level of my ignorance, but I know they didn’t do it in vain.  I will remember how little I know and how much I used to believe I knew.  MMM is so well organized and I know I am not, but wouldn’t it be great if Matilda not only carried a spare tire, but also had a spare chicken and a saw?

Many thanks to everybody who made this experience possible and may God be with you.