Day of Atonement in Lilongwe Malawi

Trip Start Sep 11, 2010
Trip End Oct 06, 2010

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Where I stayed
Ufulu Gardens Lodge

Flag of Malawi  ,
Saturday, September 18, 2010

Today is the Day of Atonement. A day of fasting.  Sure enough, the lodge brings over breakfast which they told them not to.  I just KNEW that something like this was going to happen. We are used to continual misunderstandings.  Christina Davis is staying these few days with us.

We have Church services this morning. When we arrive at the building it is absolutely wonderful to see all the people that we have gotten to know over the years....people such as Dr. Sam Chilopora and his wife Esther, Nester Phiri, Haiten Thungula and others.  Mr. Thungula has clearly become a leader in this congregation.  His son Rodrick has been one of our scholarship recipients and has acquired a skill in graphics design. 

Nester Phiri's told us about her clinic sponsored by LifeNets that will open next year.  It will be an antenatal, small children one through five and outpatient.

James Luwanja told us that he has helped another person start up a small grocery store in the same shopping district where the hair salon is.  His wife is doing great, but his plumbing business is a bit slow.  She is providing very well for the family through her successful Lovely Looks Hair Salon that we visited yesterday. 

The sermonette was given by Diverson Chonde who did a very good job.  I gave a sermon about  the purpose of fasting.  I explained that it was not for the purpose of forcing anything or exerting our will, but to break our will and see where we have fallen short.  

We had a free afternoon back at our lodge at Ufulu Gardens.  We walked over the grounds. It's a remarkable place and it looks like it will be greatly expanded.  Lots of construction going on to a new restaurant and added facilities.  We enjoyed seeing all the plants and flowers and took lots of pictures of the botanical wonders.  

Dinner was brought to us after sunset.  Bev, Christina and I enjoyed the time together.  

Then we had to get the vehicle for our trip south to Balaka and Blantyre from Wordsworth.  I wanted to be sure to know exactly how to get out of town.  The vehicle we have is the Toyota Ipsum. LifeNets has purchased two vehicles to be used here in Malawi.  This one and the Toyota Carina.  

Wordsworth Rashid came by and Beverly and he had a discussion about our LifeNets matters.

Then he took me out to show me the main highway, the Kamuzu Highway out of town.  There is a great lacking of signs in the darkness it's impossible to know what direction you are going.  Wordsworth did more than enough showing me the road.  He drove me out to the edge of town to make sure that I had the road right the next morning.  Probably an expensive trip with gasoline on the inefficient Ipsum running $6 a gallon. 

Then we went out into the other direction to area 25b where Wordsworth lives.  I wanted to make sure I had the proper car documents.  Roadblocks are ever present and they can ask you anything--your passport, registration, insurance. Most car requests are answered quickly by the stickers you have on your windshield.  Wordsworth didn't have the documentation for the Ipsum, so he asked Lewis Salawila to email a scanned copy of them.  

When we got to Wordsworth's home, the documents came by email.  A huge megabyte scan.  It took forever to download.  But, the printer wasn't working.  I then took a picture of the screen with my camera phone and had that ready to show a traffic policeman, if necessary. 

One thing that strikes me at night is that it is so dark.  There are no street lights, no signs.  I left Wordsworth's thinking that I had remembered the way into his neighborhood.  It was supposed to be "easy."    Well, it wasn't.  Normally, I have a good sense of direction, but when there are no signs and it's dark, all bets are off to find your way out. 

I immediately became disoriented.  I drove and drove.  I would come to the end of pavement and have to turn around. There would be steep drop offs on the road and I would have to carefully maneuver the car to get it going back in the right direction.  Any misstep would be disaster and a car blocking the road.  I kept going around and seeing the same buildings.  The neighborhood was completely quiet except for some drunk people every so often staggering.  There were skinny dogs running and barking all over.  It was a drive through hell.  I did have a cell phone, but the number to Wordsworth didn't seem to get to him.  But, finally, HE called asking if I made it home OK.  No, I wasn't home.  I didn't know WHERE I was.  He asked me to describe the buildings and I found that I was about 2 minutes from his home!  God answered my silent earlier prayer.  

Wordsworth and a friend (there are always extra people) came out to the road and showed me another way out.  It was VERY EASY. I wish I had known that way out instead of the "short" cut that Wordsworth used to get into his neighborhood.  I had spent about 45 minutes driving in circles in darkness and fortunately ended up back where I started. 

I got back to Ufulu Gardens about 12:30 am.  Whew!!!
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