Thursday, November 29, 2012

 Some animal pictures from our visit to Livingstone (Victoria Falls) and Botswana

One of more than 200 elephants we saw in an hour

Elder Lookhart and I checking out the Zebras

One of many giraffes on hotel grounds

On October 8, 2012, we officially left Lusaka, Zambia, being driven by the Mission Office Couple, the Lookharts to the Zambia, Malawi border, where we were met by Elder Prete, who with his wife, lives in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.  They are from Cardston, former owners of the Cardston Bookstore.  There is a lot of country with very few people between Lusaka and the border, but after the border it is almost continuous people, living mostly in villages along the road, with some in small towns.
The whole countryside is filled with villages like these
The plan was for us to live in Lilongwe and the Pretes would move to Blantyre, where they would take over from the Bullocks (from Airdrie, Alberta).  Because of some security issues, we moved to Blantyre on October 16, and the Pretes remained in Lilongwe.  They are doing great things there and the missionaries have been successful.  We have begun to handle the "Office" things for the 10 missionaries that are here.  That includes paying rent, utilities, cell phone time, medical issues, bus transportation, automobile fuel, and book supplies.
Our front yard at #1, Kufa Road, Blantyre

We live in an older home, that has air conditioning, a modern kitchen, washer and dryer.  The house has 2 garages (used for storage) and three bedrooms (one is an office), and two full baths.  It is large enough when all the missionaries come over.
Our dining room table, can handle 12

Malawi is a small country in size, by comparison with Zambia, but has just as many people, making it very crowded.  There are lots of mountains and Lake Malawi is the worlds 8th largest lake.  The country has very little to export, so suffers from currency issues.  The local currency have been severely devalued earlier this year and it looks like it will get worse.  There is a serious issue with fuel supplies, and without personal storage, one can sit for hours in a line waiting, if the station has any.
The local chapel, about 8 years old.  Apostle Nelson dedicated the country of Malawi here November 2011

There are four branches of the Church in Blantyre, two meeting in a modern style chapel and two meeting in renovated houses.  In Lilongwe, there are at least 2 branches and soon to be more.  Lilongwe is the capital city and was built from nothing a few years ago and is very flat.  Blantyre is an older, former commercial center, and is located between several mountains.
Some of the members at the Liwonde/Sitima Group - 2 hours from Blantyre

There is one group of members that are about two hours out in the country (Liwonde/Sitima), so we will visit there occasionally.  No members have cars, so they walk or rely on public transportation.  Food is mainly maize (a corn like porridge mixture) eaten three times a day, when they can afford it.  We are able to buy many things that we are familiar with, though supplies are inconsistent. The price is just outrageous, but we do it anyway.
This is a common scene every where in the countryside.  Usually the ladies carry one on their head.  The water comes from drilled wells (bore holes is the local terminology).

Life in Blantyre is much quieter than life in Zambia.  The traffic that is heavy and busy during the days - from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. but after dusk there are NO buses or traffic or people for that matter.  All missionary teaching is done during the day and the people struggle with English - Chichewe is the Malawian language - they also use it at church.  We try to get them to stick with English but many of the ladies (in particular) do not understand English so they have a hard time staying active or understanding callings.