August 11, 2004
I am happy to report that we are getting settled in our new home. On Monday we moved all of our baggage from Grace Bandawi Conference Center down the road to our lovely three bedroom ranch. Mrs. Elvie Chirwa took me shopping and I purchased some plastic tubs for washing clothes, plastic dishes and cups, cleaning products and staples for the pantry.
Every room in the house had recently been given a coat of fresh white paint. The yard had been swept (yes, I mean swept –that is how they get rid of leaves and debris), the bushes trimmed and a rush fence erected in the front of the house to shield us from the main road into Blantyre, which runs there. The Synod even hired a seamstress (she belongs to the St. Columbo CCAP) to make curtains for the home. (She is different from the one we originally met with, and picked out the fabric for us, but it is lovely.) Over the next two days we unpacked and organized our belongings. We are very grateful to be settling in.
On Sunday we went to church at St. James CCAP. Dan is to be the associate pastor there this year, so formal introductions were made to the congregation during two of the three packed services. When we arrived at the church Dan was given a boutonniere and I was presented with a half dozen fragrant long stemmed yellow blushed roses. We were all ushered up onto the altar and were seated with the elders. Then we were introduced. Dan and I were each asked to say a “few words of greeting.”The girls smiled throughout the two services (and this was not an easy task because we are all a bit under the weather –the massive changes over the last week and the new food have given each of us some gastrointestinal distress). However, the music at both services was really inspirational.
Then after the services we went into the pastor’s study for “tea and biscuits”(in reality we had coke and cookies). It was a simple gesture, but showed the Malawians’wonderful gift of hospitality. We really enjoyed the respite.
Dan started working this morning. He left at 6:30 this morning to go to Liwonde for a strategic planning meeting. It is about an hour and a half from here. Then he has a meeting with the General Secretary in Domasi. He won’t be back until tomorrow night. The girls and I will continue to organize the house and get things set up.
Heather and Brooke have already made several friends. Emma and Allison are the daughters of Irish Presbyterian Missionaries to the CCAP and they are already talking about sharing DVDs, and Tisha is the daughter of the Business Manager of the Synod. She and her father took us out to the only Chinese restaurant in Blantyre on Saturday night, and the girls really hit it off. The next day, Tisha sent them a bunch of bananas from a tree in her yard. Malawians are so thoughtful!
One of the things that has amazed us is the way night falls here. At 5:30 p.m. it is bright daylight, and at 6:00 p.m. the sun sets, and by 6:30 p.m. it is pitch black outside. Coming from daylight savings time to this is quite a switch! That made last night quite interesting. As I was in the middle of cooking dinner, the electricity went out. Since it was 6:30 and very dark, we reached for the candles, but remembered we had no matches to light the candles . . . so we whipped out the handy dandy Coleman lantern!!!
The electricity came back on in about half an hour, and I finished cooking dinner. We never quite know what will happen next, so it is really an adventure!