When they woke up the next morning, Moses had already left. A note sat on
the table in the kitchen telling them to eat whatever they wanted and to be
Elspet made breakfast for them. “Fiona, I would like to go to the
Livingstonia Mission and see where the boy, Andy, died. I’d like to find his
grave and put some flowers on it.”
“I was thinking the same thing. It’s a sad story and I’m sure Moses would
appreciate our thoughts,” Fiona said.
After cleaning up their mess, they walked into the tiny town. The mission
wasn’t far. They went inside. “This is nice. I can imagine them being here,
though I’m sure it wasn’t fun.” Elspet looked at the walls.
An elderly man came out from a back room. “Hello children. What can I do to
“We’re here visiting and met Moses Hall. He told us about his brother, Andy.
We wanted to come here and see what it was like, the place he died,” Fiona
“Andy Hall. I was just a boy about the same age when that happened. I
remember it well. I was here at the mission.”
“You were?” Callum’s eyes widened.
“Yes. My name is Hagos. I’ve lived here for many years. I was in the mission
polishing the pews when the Hall family came in with the sick boy. Moses and
his mother were in tears. Mr. Hall was very upset. He asked my father to
take him to other towns and villages to see if anyone had serum for the
tetanus. When they left, I went over and sat with Moses and his mother. The
boy, Andy, had a horrible time. Tetanus is one of the worst ways to die.
It’s also known as lock-jaw. I needn’t say more about that. Just before he
died, he looked up at the wall. There was a painting of Jesus. Andy smiled
and told his mother not to cry because he was going to live with Jesus. He
closed his eyes and died. His father came back within minutes, but he’d not
been able to find the serum. The preacher took the painting off the wall and
gave it to the family since Andy had liked it so much.” Hagos wiped a tear
from his cheek.
“That’s a sad story. Can you show us where his grave is?” Fiona struggled to
speak, being choked with emotion.
“I can show you. Follow me.”
On the way there, Fiona picked some wild flowers. “My great great uncle,
Robert McAllister, was a missionary here a long time ago.” Nobody responded
to her comment. When they stopped at Andy’s grave, Fiona laid the flowers on
top, near the headstone. “Rest in peace, Andy.”
Callum and Elspet stood in silence, too touched to speak.
Hagos cleared his throat. “What are you going to do now?”
“We’re going to the Manchewe Waterfalls, but first I’d like a tour of the
town. Would you like to show us around?” Fiona grinned at the native
“We are a poor people. I want you to be prepared as I show you Livingstonia.
There are many children here. They are orphans. It’s a sad set of
circumstances. There are 1.2 million orphans in Malawi alone, never mind the
entire country. Most of their parents have died of AIDS. Many kind people
take care of them and make sure they are fed and happy.” Hagos led them to a
building. They went inside and hundreds of children, ages two to eighteen
ran towards them, excited to see the strangers. “They are happy to see you.”
Fiona, Elspet and Callum smiled at the children and let themselves be led
and show paintings, drawings and other crafts and art that the orphans had
done. A five-year-old girl walked up to Fiona and smiled at her. She reached
for Fiona’s hand and Fiona took it in hers. They walked around together and
then stopped under the shade of a not so healthy looking tree. Fiona opened
her backpack and let the girl rummage through it. The girl was fascinated by
all the items. Fiona sat and pulled the girl onto her lap. “What’s your
The girl turned her head and smiled once again at Fiona. “My name is Lily.”
“That’s a lovely name. My name is Fiona. Would you like to pick something
out of my pack and keep it just for you?”
While Fiona and Lilly shared some quiet time together, the village boys
pulled Callum outside for a game of football.
Elspet found Fiona.
“Hello, Elspet. This is Lily. She’s in primary school and is learning to
read and write.”
“Hello, Lily.” Elspet sat next to them. You can read now? What a big girl.”
And so it went for an hour or so until Hagos showed up, interrupting the
peaceful moments. “If you want to see the rest of the village, we must go
now. Lily, you go on to school now.”
Fiona whispered, “Here, take this chocolate bar. Put it in your pocket and
you can have it all to yourself.” The girl giggled and shoved it deep into
the purple skirt pocket before running off to school.
The stopped the football game and Hagos sent the boys to school. Callum
brushed off his dusty pants and joined Fiona and Elspet. As they walked
around, Hagos showed them the hospital. “This is the David Gordon Memorial
Hospital. There are 100 beds and most of them are always full. The hospital
was established by Scottish Presbyterian missionaries in 1910. There is the
primary school, where Lily goes each day and that one over there is the
secondary school. We lack teachers and supplies.” They ended up back at the
Fiona’s heart broke at the sight of so many children left without a parent.
She thought about her own father and how she’d lost him. The children were
so loving and kind to her that it touched her. Fiona closed her eyes and
searched below ground for gems, oil, gold, or anything that they could dig
up to use for resources. There was nothing. As she watched the orphans
sitting at their desks struggling to learn to read and write, she saw the
happiness in their eyes. Even though they had nothing, they were joyful for
what they did have, each other. Elspet took many photos of the children and
the mission. They bid farewell to Hagos and headed for the waterfall.
Fiona, Callum and Elspet left Livingstonia with a new outlook on life and
much more appreciation for what they had at home in Scotland.
Elspet sighed. “When I grow up, I’m coming back here and going to work and
help these people. I think I’ll be a teacher and bring a lot of paper and
“That’s nice of you, Elspet. If I ever get a lot of money, I’m going to send
it here to help the children. If I can’t have children of my own, I’m going
to adopt some of these kids and give them a better life.” Fiona turned to
look at the town. “It’s hard to leave under such these circumstances, but we
have other things that are just as important.”