August 6, 2004
One of the first things I spotted along the road to Blantyre after we left the airport was a village of round African stick huts. I really didn’t think that people still lived in them, but when I saw them, I realized that I had a lot of misconceptions. We were driven to Grace Bandawi Conference Center where we had a formal greeting by the officers of the Synod and the Women’s Guild. Then we went to our rooms and slept like the dead for two hours. We got up and ate a delicious Malawian style meal (I had a whole fish –head, tail and all on my plate; Dan and the girls had chicken and rice or nsima) and then went to bed and slept hard all night. We were exhausted from our long journey. Dan said that there was definitely something to be said for the way the first missionaries came, on slow steamer ships across the ocean. It would sure eliminate jet lag!
For the past two days we have been busy getting things ready to live for a year here in Malawi. All along the way we have been reminded that we are not in America anymore. It took us four hours to set up a bank account. The first car dealership we visited said, “We can have a vehicle for you in four or five weeks.”But the Lord had a plan and we found a wonderful 4x4 double cab Nissan truck which we will be driving next week.
Our home is not quite ready for us to move into. But we visited it and loved it. It is a spacious ranch with three bedrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, two and a half bathrooms and a garage.
The synod has recently cleaned up the yard and vegetation, and we were delighted to find out that we will have mango, papaya, avocado and banana trees. There is also a large area for a garden which will be planted in the spring (October here). We are very excited.
The Synod arranged meetings with the curtain maker and the security company as well. The girls and I selected African prints featuring zebras, elephants and African pottery and fauna for our curtains!
Today is Heather’s 17 th birthday and so we went to the only big grocery store in town and bought a cake. Tonight we will share it in the dining hall with all the other guests and staff. I think it is a birthday she will remember.