Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Things I Will and Will NOT Miss

As I sat in the London Heathrow Airport waiting for my flight, I wrote a list of things I will miss and not miss about Malawi.

I will NOT miss…

…risking my life every time we walked somewhere.  Malawians are crazy drivers and always speed through our neighborhood, despite all the school children walking home.

…being squeezed onto a minibus.  Minibuses were made to seat 14 people, however, 20 was usually the lucky number.   

…the constant obnoxious honking.  Malawian drivers are obsessed about hearing their own horn.  I wondered what would happen if all the horns were taken out, well, I found an answer a couple days later when I saw a car with an air horn taped to the window sill, yeah.    

…being called “Mama” when walking in town.  “I’m not your mother!”

…women breastfeeding anywhere and everywhere at any time.  (I just never get used to that) 

…Malawian vehicles that are always falling apart!

            Story number 1:  Getting off a minibus is never graceful and this day I had to balance my backpack and a grocery bag as I climbed out.  I rested my hand on the side of the bus as I stepped down to steady myself and the whole door popped off the track!  I felt really bad! “Pempani (I’m sorry), Pempani!”  People were laughing.  Thankfully, Francis explained to me that it was no big deal and that it happened all the time.  Go figure it would happen to me!

            Story number 2:  We took Miles, our friend and taxi driver, to Mt. Mulange.  On our way there one of the back seat windows gave us some troubles.  First it would not go down, then a little while later it decided to go down by itself.  Well, once we parked the car the stupid window would not go up, so Miles had to pull the whole door apart to get the widow to go up.  All us ladies could do was stand by and try not to laugh too hard at how typical the situation was. 

…the confusing currency or balancing my finance book.  (Kelsey, can I get an Amen?!)

…the mosquitoes!!! The sound they make in your ear, teasing you, is utterly obnoxious and they are fast little boogers!

I will miss…

…my African Mama Maribeth and my sister Kelsey. 

…the Team.
            Paul’s singing, Simon’s videotaping, Yamikani’s “Oh, thank God!” ‘s, Abbie’s sweet heart, and James’ goofiness.

…the Montessori Teachers.

…the beautiful view from our backyard.

…the orange African sunset.  It truly gives the color orange a new vibrancy, a new life.

…singing with the children at the Montessori School.  The song “Father Abraham” will always be special. 

…being able to get fresh baked bread at any and every corner.

…surprising people on the streets by greeting them in Chichewa.

…getting the sick children in the orthopedic, oncology, and Moyo ward to smile and laugh.

…walking everywhere.

…the beauty of Malawi.  The variations of bright green, the good weather, and the tropical bird noises. 

Frances’ weekly Chichewa lessons.

…Silvester, our cat, though he was a pill.

…Arnold and his beautiful family.

…Maribeth’s baked goodies, they were all delicious but the banana bread had no competition!

…the great chats the 3 of us had during dinner and often afterwards as well.  “Ona!!” *squirt!!!

…the staff parties! The food, the singing, the laughs! Great times!

…looking into the eyes of a Malawian baby and seeing your reflection in their big black eyes. 

…the great meals we always made for dinner. 

…the street boys.  I love them all and they hold a special place in my heart. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Today is the day I am flying home, I am leaving Malawi.  I honestly can not believe it is over so soon.  I feel like I just got here, yet I know that in the time I have been here, I have changed so much.  I have spent this morning packing last minute things and zipping up my big suitcases.  I still can not believe I am going. 

I am not happy, but I am.  I am not happy to be leaving all my dear friends here, who have become my second family.  I am not happy to be leaving this lifestyle that I have become comfortable living.  I am not happy to be leaving this beautiful country in Africa.  I am happy because I am going home.  It has been two months and I am ready, I had a great time here, but I am ready.  I am happy at the thought of seeing my family and friends soon. 

Now, here comes the tough part.  Maribeth, Kelsey and the whole Team are taking me to the airport.  I am not worried about flying by myself; I know God will take care of me.  The tough part is saying goodbye to these people I love. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Today was busy and bitter sweet.  It was my last full day in Malawi, which is sad.  I spent the whole morning packing and cleaning.  Then I we went to the school to say goodbye to the kids and teachers.  That was definitely harder than I thought it would be.  Tisu announced to the kids that Madame Becca had to leave tomorrow and gave them a chance to say something to me.  A lot of the kids said that they loved me, will miss me and that they hope I have a safe flight and come back soon.  It was really sweet.  Then they had me sit in the middle of their circle and they prayed for me, which meant a lot.  After the prayer they sang a song that said something like goodbye is not forever, we will meet again.  I totally cried, I was trying not to, but I did.  Once the kids were dismissed most of them came up and gave me a hug.  Then, I had to say goodbye to the teachers, which was even harder, they said sweet things and I got teary eyed saying goodbye to each one. 

Once we came home I did more organizing, packing, and cleaning.  I am so sad to be leaving this beautiful place but I am also happy to be seeing my friends and family back home soon. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today was my last day serving at Queens.  Kelsey and I met up with Abbie in the morning and visited the kids in the orthopedic wards.  I brought my camera with me and as soon as the kids saw it, they wanted their picture taken.  I should have brought the camera in sooner because it made them all excited and happy and when I showed each child their picture they laughed and laughed!  It was a lot of fun!


After being in the wards, we went to some of the covered patios and read to the guardians.  Abbie and I read the story of the prodigal son and the adults enjoyed it.  They were very appreciative that we would take the time to read to them.  They were also very interactive, which was nice.  Yamikani joined our group a short time later and we read to some more guardians around the Moyo ward. 

We ended our work at Queens early so that we could take Abbie into town for lunch.  It was fun to go out, just us three girls to celebrate my last day at Queens.  We went to a new restaurant Kelsey and I had not gone to before, it wasn’t the cleanest, but the food was good.  We had a nice time. 

Once we finished lunch Kelsey and I went to the South African Airline office and confirmed my flight.  Everything is still on track and looking good.  After that we ran some last minute errands and I enjoyed my last trip in town. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Today was good but difficult.  This morning I taught the Street Boys and it was crazy.  I had 20 boys in my class and the young girl from two weeks ago.  The boys were rowdy to begin with, and then the young girl started causing trouble.  Whatever she was saying in Chichewa made the boys irritated and they antagonized her, at one point she violently grabbed one of the smallest boys and three other boys started attacking her.  The two people helping me and I had to pull the boys away and get all the boys settled down.  Then, it happened again, only five or six boys attacked her and again we had to pull them all away.  It was not good.  We started singing a song in Chichewa to calm them all down because even the boys who where still seated where yelling and going crazy.  After the song she grabbed the same boy for the third time and ALL the boys went at her.  It was a full on fight in the Sunday school classroom!  I flew so fast through the door separating Maribeth’s classroom from mine and told Maribeth that the young girl needed to leave.  Then I helped pull kids out of the fight.  Once fists stopped flying Maribeth and one of the pastors tried to get her to leave, but she refused.  So, we moved all the little boys into the other classroom with the bigger boys for safety.  The older boys lead their own program and once one of the boys started preaching, I could tell the little ones were getting antsy, so I moved them into the main worship room.  Even though the worship team was practicing their songs for the service, it worked out fine.  I passed out little books we made about Jesus being the Good Shepherd and how we are his sheep and they colored it.  By the time it came around for the boys to have their snack, the girl had moved into the lobby and Maribeth and Laurette where with her.  The boys got their snack and then left. 

Unfortunately, once they left the classroom and went out into the lobby and started antagonizing the young girl again.  I tried to get them to leave her alone a couple of times but there were too many of them.  Finally a couple of the pastors got the boys to leave.  And eventually the young girl left as well.  Maribeth told me later that the young girl was possessed and that she and Laurette spent the whole time holding the girl and praying for her.

After everything that had happened in the past hour and a half I had trouble switching gears for church.  I tried my hardest to listen to the sermon but my mind was preoccupied.  My heart was heavy for all those little boys and that young girl.  It was my last Sunday with them before I have to leave to go back home and as of yet nobody has stepped up to help.  These boys are really dear to my heart and it is really hard to leave them when they have no leader.  I am praying God will provide somebody to step up and love these boys or bring me back soon.  These boys need a mommy figure to teach them about Jesus. 

Once church ended we went out to lunch and had our Chichewa lesson.  It was my last lesson and I am disappointed.  It is pretty simple to learn and it’s a beautiful language. 

After the lesson, we went to the curio place to buy some souvenirs and gifts and then we came home.  The curio place is crazy because there are a dozen men talking to you at once trying to get you to look at their stuff and buy it.  When I tried to look at something they all got in my face to show me their item, which is exactly the same.  Each stand had the same things and they were all competing for my attention and money.  As I tried to talk to Maribeth and buy something they all stood around us all talking to me at once, “Madame, Madame.”, “Look at this.”, “Come look at my stand.”  It was quite crazy! I was happy to get out of there quickly!

After that, we came home.  Today was one big over stimulating day and on top of that I was really sad to be leaving the street boys.  I cried because I do not want to leave those boys, I love them so much.  At the same time, I know I will be back and I must trust God, that He will take care of them.     

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Today was fun!  Maribeth, Kelsey and I had a good morning getting stuff done around the house.  It has rained for three days straight and we all desperately needed to do our laundry.  So, we took advantage of the nice, sunny morning to do our laundry and hang it outside to dry. 

Once we finished our laundry, we ran into town and got a few quick things done before going to Anansa’s house for lunch.  Anansa’s house is very pretty and we had a fun time eating lunch and socializing.  After that we went home and had a relaxing evening. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Today was really great!  This morning we went to the school and had a quick meeting with the ABC Team.  Then, Tisu and Abbie came back to the house with us to help us cook for the staff party/meeting this afternoon.  It was fun chopping veggies and sifting through rice with the women.  The team arrived a short time later and we did the Holy Spirit Bible study we have been going through.  Once the study was over we ate.  The dinning room table was filled with delicious food and we all dug in! The food was just as good as our first party! 

After lunch, we had our staff meeting.  Yamikani was officially announced as the project leader for the hospital, which is a blessing.  We are all excited for him to become the team’s hospital Abusa.  Then, Maribeth reminded the team that I am leaving and gave everyone the opportunity to say something to me.  They all had something to say and it was very sweet.  I was choking back tears, but I really appreciated it.  The team has become my Malawian family, they are all incredible people and I am going to miss every single one of them dearly. 

Once they left, I cleaned the floors.  When Malawians eat, food flies everywhere!  I actually enjoyed sweeping and mopping because it gave me some time to process through my emotions and think.  Leaving Malawi is way tougher than I imagined. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today was really wet and rainy but good.  I met Abbie at Queens this morning and we prayed for the kids in the wards.  After that we could not go sit outside in our normal spot on the grass because it was raining so we went to different patio shelters outside and read to the guardians.  We read the story of Zacchaeus and they really liked it.  They thanked us for reading to them and encouraging them. 

At lunch the three of us huddled under an umbrella outside of a small food stand so that we could stay out of the rain.  Once we finished lunch, we read to more guardians outside and then went into the Moyo ward to visit and pray for the children.   

After we were done with Queens, Kelsey and I ran some errands in town.  When we finished we spoiled ourselves and took Miles, our friend and taxi driver, home so we would not have to trek through the rain and puddles with all our bags.

In the evening, we went to our friend Ramila’s house for dinner.  Dinner was great and I had a fun time socializing. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Today was good.  We served at Queens with the ABC Team all day.  In the morning we all paired off and went separate ways.  Yamikani and I visited the children in the orthopedic wards.  Most of the kids we already knew but there were a couple of new faces.  We prayed for all of them, the kids loved getting the attention and their parents appreciated it.  After that we went to the oncology ward and played with the kids in the play area.  They really loved it and I had as much fun playing as they did!

Lunch time was special.  Because it was my last Wednesday, Kelsey and I decided to make them an American lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  They liked it a lot! It has been fun Americanizing them! Haha!

In the afternoon, Yamikani and I read to the guardians.  There were a lot of guardians outside, under the patios because of the rain.  They really enjoyed the story and were interactive, asking questions.  It was great!

After we finished at Queens, Kelsey and I came home.  We were both really tired, so had dinner and now I am going to bed.  It was a good day.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Today was a blessing!  I woke up early this morning to find a note from Kelsey on our dinner table saying that Abbie was not going to Queens today.  So, I decided to take the day off and spend it with God.  I had not had a day with God in a long time and it was really needed.  I spent the whole day praying to God, reading in my Bible and reflecting on how God has used me and also how He has grown me spiritually.  It gave me some time to process everything that has happened and start to face the fact that I only have one more full week here until I leave to go back home. 

Kelsey and Yamikani ended up going to Queens in the afternoon to minister to the children and guardians, which was good.  After Kelsey left, our landlord and a plumber came to fix our leaky toilet.  While they were still here, our friends Jane J., Simon and Paul from the school and ABC Team showed up, unannounced, to harvest some of the maze in our backyard.  Meanwhile, the plumber figured out that the septic tank is full but they temporarily fixed it.  Just as our friends where leaving with the maze, our landlord and a different plumber stopped by so that he could get a second opinion before hiring a truck to come and pump the tank.  The conclusion was the same so he said he would arrange for a truck to come in the next couple days.  Shortly after they left, Francis, our Chichewa teacher came to give Maribeth her Chichewa lesson.  Halfway through her lesson, her friend Ramila unexpectedly stopped by to say hi and invite us over for dinner.  We made plans to go to her house Thursday night.  So, the whole day there was a revolving door.  And despite all the distractions, it was a blessing that I was able to spend a much needed day with God.  Having that time really refreshed me emotionally and spiritually. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Today was good.  However, this morning was horrible.  I left the house late, but walked to the minibus pickup spot with Maribeth.  I waited for a minibus for a half an hour before I actually got picked up by one.  I rode the bus into town and caught a minibus from there to Queens.  On the way to Queens, the boy behind me had a bunch of live chickens tied together and put them under my seat!  I could hear them squawking and rustling, trying to get free.  I was afraid they were going to bite my ankles or something! I was stressed and aggravated from being late but I prayed for God’s peace and once I got to Queens, I was fine. 

I met up with Abbie there and we visited the kids in the orthopedic ward.  They were happy to see us and we were happy to see them.  We did not have time to see the kids in oncology before the doctors came in because we started late, so we went to our normal spot on the grass and prayed.  We always have a time of intercession prayer for the hospital, for the sick children and for our guardians. 

After lunch, Kelsey and Yamikani joined Abbie and me at Queens.  Yamikani and I read about baby Moses in the basket to the guardians and they really liked it.  After that we all visited the Moyo ward and prayed with the kids.  Abbie was not feeling good, so after we finished, she went to the doctor to get tested for malaria.  Once there was nothing else Kelsey or I could do for her, we went to town and ran some errands.

Once we got home we had Chichewa lessons, which was fun.  And the rest of our evening was nice.    

Sunday, March 6, 2011

This morning Xiomy came with Maribeth and me to see what we do with the street boys in the church ministry.  This week I shared the story of salvation using different color string.  I explained what each color meant and then had the boys make bracelets.  I gave one to each child and he braided it.  They were all proud of their bracelets and the smile on their face as we tied it onto their wrist was priceless.  

The church service was nice, Pastor Glen spoke about keeping faith when facing mountains or trials and it was good.  After church we went to the Blantyre market to get fresh fruits and vegetables for the week and then we came home.  I got a Sunday nap and had a relaxing evening.   

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Today was good, our friend Xiomy has come to visit us for the weekend.  This morning Kelsey and I had a lazy morning and then we went to town to run some errands.  While we were in town, we met up with Xiomy and after finishing our errands, we came home.  After being home for a bit, Kelsey and Maribeth took Xiomy to experience Prayer Mountain.  I stayed home.  While in town I bought colorful string to make salvation bracelets for the boys in the street kids’ ministry through our church, so I stayed behind and prepared that for the next day. 

Once they got back we had great dinner, including beef, rice and home made baked beans from our garden.  It was a feast!  After dinner we stayed up talking for a while and then went to bed.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Today we had meetings, meetings, and more meetings.  We had a meeting with the ABC Team to do our weekly overview.  It went well.  Then Kelsey, Abbie and I met and did our Bible Study.  After that was lunch.  And finally we had a staff meeting.  Thankfully, Kelsey and I only stayed for the Bible Study part; we are doing a study on the Holy Spirit, which is really good.  After that Kelsey and I were free to go.  We came home and cleaned the house because company is coming over tomorrow.   

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011 – Holiday!

Today was a national holiday in Malawi.  Everyone was off of school and work so Maribeth took Kelsey and me to Mount Mulanje.  We put all thoughts of work and Queens away and enjoyed a day of rest.  We took Miles, our friend and taxi driver, for the hour drive to the mountain.  What a perfect name for a taxi driver, right?  Except, that here in Malawi they use kilometers instead of miles.  Anyway, the drive there was very beautiful and we stopped Miles often to take pictures.  Once we arrived, Mt. Mulanje was HUGE and very gorgeous!  At the base of the mountain there were tea fields where Malawians were working, picking the tea leaves.  Walking through the tea fields was lovely because it smelled so nice.  Once we got to the base of the actual mountain, we began the ascension on a little path, but with African rain forest all around us.  After about a half an hour, we came to the most beautiful set of waterfalls I have ever seen!  Because the weather was warm and the water looked so cool and inviting that we went swimming!  We ended up spending almost three hours playing in the water, soaking up the beautiful nature around us and praising God for how amazing He is. 

The falls were so pretty that we never went further than the falls.  We would have been content to stay at the waterfalls for days; however, that was not practical.  So we dragged ourselves away and headed home.  It was a wonderful day away from our routine to enjoy friendship and God’s beautiful creation. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

As usual for Wednesdays, Kelsey and I worked with the team at Queens.  We broke up into groups and dispersed throughout the hospital.  I stopped by the orthopedic wards to say hi to the kids, of course, they were excited to see me and I was happy to see their bright shining faces despite their injuries.  After that, I went with Yamicani and Paul to the HIV/AIDs clinic to play with the children waiting with their parents.  It was my first time there and honestly, the ward is very dark and depressing and I was a little nervous.  I knew the boys would never let anything happen to me, understandably felt a little hesitant.  However, God calls us out of our comfort zone (as if by living in Africa I am not already) to do His will and love His people, so I rebuked my fear and played with the kids.  I ended up coloring with three or four of them for two hours and they loved it! 

After playing with the kids in the clinic we had lunch and then I read to the guardians.  I read the Bible story about the Fall of Man and explained that we are all sinners and deserve death, but God sent his only Son, Jesus, who is perfect, so that we can have a relationship with God and be in eternity with Him someday.  I think they enjoyed it.  There were so many guardians outside today that we could only read at some of the outer areas.  When I saw them all the only thing I could think of was that there were as numerous as the children of Israel from the Old Testament; they were everywhere!  We could only read to those sitting in the outer areas because there were so many.   I could have spent hours upon hours reading to them all, but unfortunately we had a schedule to keep. 

Kelsey and I went met up with Francis, our Chichewa teacher, because we had to give him something and then we got groceries at Shoprite.  We had to lug all our groceries home, our backpacks were full and we had to carry some as well.  Once we got dropped off by the minibus and started our trek home, I told Kelsey to start praying for someone we know to pick us up.  It was hot, the bags were heavy and we were tired from the long day we’d had.  About five minutes into our walk, Mr. Chewa, our landlord, drives up and offered us a ride!  I knew God would provide and He did!  It was just a little thing, but it was such a blessing!    

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Today was good, we worked at Queens.  Yamicani joined us in the morning.  We went to the orthopedic and oncology ward as normal.  As usual, the kids were thrilled to see us. And the fathers in the oncology ward did not give us as bad of a time as yesterday, which was good.  I think it is because we had Yami with us, he commands unspoken respect and authority that young women, no matter how hard we try, can not.  Youth and women are not as respected in this culture as in America; although, in America youth and women demand respect, where here they just take the disrespect quietly without a word. 

We spent some time before lunch in prayer outside the hospital.  We prayed for spiritual strength and courage, along with God’s guidance.  Also, for the doctors, nurses and hospital administration, that they would have wisdom as they go about their work.  We prayed for the sick patients and their guardians.  It was a good time of intercession. 

After lunch Abbie and I read to the guardians.  There were not very many outside during the lunch hour today, we are not sure why but we read to those that were there.  We read the story of Creation and then I explained how God loves his creation, especially you and I, and that he wants to have a personal relationship with us.  They were not completely responsive but I could tell they were listening.  Once we finished working at Queens for the day Kelsey and I ran some errands in town and then came home.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Today we went to Queens.  We visited and prayed for the children in the orthopedic wards and oncology ward.  In the oncology ward I got a sense that some for the fathers were making fun of us because they were laughing and I heard ‘azungu’ a couple of times.  Abigail told me afterwards that they were making fun of us both.  We then had a heart to heart and she shared that she has been feeling discouraged because some of the guardians have been saying rude and even mean things that she has not repeated to Kelsey or I.  Kelsey and I had an idea about what was going on because we can read body language but we did not know it was this bad and that it was having such an impact on her.  After finding that out Abbie and I spent some time praying for spiritual protection and strength for Abbie as well as God to open the hearts of those verbally persecuting us.  Spiritual warfare is very present here, Satan is going to use every vice he can to discourage us and keep us from doing God’s work.  However, we are not going to bow out that easily! 

After lunch Abigail and I read the story of the Samaritan woman at the well and shared that the living water Jesus refers to in the story represents salvation.  Then I explained what salvation is, means, and how to obtain it.  I did not do an alter call or anything like that, but I gave them a chance to ask questions at the end and they were pretty responsive, which is encouraging. 

Once we could go back into the wards when spent some time praying in the Moyo ward.  Most of the kids from last week have gotten better and gone home which is good to see.   We met some new kids and guardians today so gave the children books, they always love it.  We are also building a relationship with the nurse who is in charge of the ward.  This is great because we can give her some much needed encouragement. 

Kelsey and I helped out at the school for a little while and then came home.  Francis came over and we had our Chichewa lesson, we ended up having two hours of lessons instead of just one because Maribeth was running late and too tired.  Our second lesson ended up being in the kitchen as we cut vegetables and prepared dinner.  It was silly, but it worked and was a nice change.  Francis left shortly after and us ladies had a lovely dinner and a relaxing evening.  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Today was great!  This morning I taught Sunday school to the younger group street boys again.  I had a young girl in my group as well, which no one had seen before, but I made her feel welcome.  I could tell right away that she was really troubled and not completely all there mentally.  I did my best to encourage her and after being there for a while she became more at ease.  I gave the kids the books we made about being a child of the King.  They loved receiving the book and coloring it.  After I read the book to them (some of them can not read), I made them all crowns out of white paper.  As I taped each crown to fit their head, the largest smile was on their face.  The rest of the time they were at the church they wore their crowns.  And I will forever hold onto the image of those kids proudly walking out the church door wearing their crowns with the biggest smiles on their faces.  It made me so happy to see their joy. 

At the beginning of the church service the girl from the streets who was in my Sunday school that morning came back and sat down.  Maribeth told me that the street kids will often come back and sit in the back of the church because they feel safe.  The girl was sitting by herself so I went over during the worship and sat with her, at first she was uncomfortable but soon she relaxed.  After the worship time the congregation had a time of prayer and I was able to use the opportunity to pray for this girl.  She had a lot of things troubling her, she had the spirit of confusion regarding her mother and her personal situation, and she had a cough.  After Maribeth and I prayed for her, she sat with us for most of the service but left before it ended.  I pray that she continues to come on Sundays so that Maribeth and I can continue to minister to her. 

Our friend Anansa and her husband joined us at church and then we went to her parent’s bed and breakfast/restaurant for lunch.  We ended up having Mongolian barbeque for lunch and then banana chocolate cake for dessert, it was amazing!  We had some really good, deep conversations and it was nice to relax.  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011 – Safari Day 2!!!

This morning we woke up 5:30 to prepare for the bush walk.  It gave us just enough time to drink some tea and wake up before our next adventure.  We walked to the river and saw some hippos and on our way back we saw some monkeys close up, which was cool.    It was a beautiful morning. 

Our tour guide

When I was told bush walk, I did not realize how literal they meant! Haha!

During breakfast we met a nice married couple who had arrived late last night.  The husband was a pastor and starts churches in villages that do not have one.  We found out that they were leaving the same time we were and live in the township just past ours, so they offered us a ride.  To Kelsey and my greatest relief and with gratitude we accepted their kind offer. 

After we got back the park manager asked us if we would like to go on a safari boat ride for free.  The safari boat ride is a new activity the park is going to offer.  There ended being men from Malawi TV were there that day to film and take pictures for a documentary and advertisement for the park.  Kelsey and I agreed and the men took our picture and filmed us on the boat.  We are going to be famous!  Haha! It was fun and the men were nice.  It sort of felt like we were being used, but it was a free ride and we got to see some more animals.  I asked the manager afterward for a copy of any publication that I will be in, he agreed but we’ll see if it will truly happen.

On the quick ride from the camp to the river we saw an elephant up close and personal!

During the safari boat ride, Kelsey and I got to see some animals really close.  In the beginning of our ride I was a little nervous because I did NOT want to boat to tip and meet an alligator up close and personal.  Thankfully, that did not happen and I got more comfortable being on the boat.  We got to see at least a dozen hippo in the water and the coolest thing we got to see was an elephant.  An elephant was standing in the water by the shore of the river eating plants and washing itself.  It was spectacular, I truly had a moment where I was like, “Yes, now this is Africa.”  We were able to watch him and get close in the boat.  The whole scene with him in the water and the jungle behind him was really, really spectacular. 

Pastor Paisley and his wife drove us home.  Kelsey and I were both very grateful because the thought of riding in that wanna be pick up again and taking a minibus home was not appealing.  We got talking with the couple on the ride back and found out that he knows the pastor of our church and our friend and Chichewa teacher, Francis.  I thought that was neat, God sure has a way with taking care of us.  I see now that our horrible journey to the wildlife park just made everything we experienced that much more appreciated, especially the ride home. 

Kelsey, Maribeth and I ended up going out to dinner that evening with some missionary friends of Mary’s.  It was interesting to hear about the work they are doing and discuss things we have in common as missionaries; such as, observations of the culture and obstacles we have encountered.  They were nice people.