Prince Kampamo warned me that I would receive a series of gifts from members of the church. He said that many of these folks traveled miles to the church in Nsanje by foot or by bicycle carrying these gifts.
Sure enough. Before the service started, a procession of people carrying gifts where lined up before me. Gifts includes, a rooster, several chickens, two doves, a basket of fresh eggs and a bag ground corn. I was humbled by all the gifts. These people were giving the best that they have. Prince teased me saying these gifts must be transported back to the states.
The last gift was wrapped in paper like a birthday present. I had no idea what was in the wrapping. I accepted the gift and laid it on the back of the stages with the rest of the livestock.
After the service was over, the man that gave me the wrapped gift came up on the stage. He said in broken English, "Please open the gift.". I asked him what was inside. He replied, "An African head." My mind started racing. I envisioned a shrunken head hiding inside the nicely wrapped package. The man said, "I want you to take the African Head to America.".
I told the man I would open the package later. He said, "No." and proceeded to open the package himself. II was very anxious about the possible reveal that was about to happen. Inside the package was a homemade straw hat. He said smiling, "There, an African Head.". I was so relieved. No shrunken head.
Post script. I proudly brought the hat home. I continue to wear the hat to protect my head from the sun when I mow the lawn. It is a gift that I will treasure and get practical use out of it.