From Blantyre to Cape Maclear

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

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Where I stayed
Fat Monkeys Resort

Flag of Malawi  , Lake Malawi National Park,
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What a day today! Henry Khembo was to come by at 9 am where we would join with him to go out to Cape Maclear on Lake Malawi.  For us it's a challenging drive with uncertain roads with huge potholes, shoulders that drop off a foot or more in some places which are guaranteed rollovers if you veer off the pavement, police checkpoints and much much more. 

Our first indication of delay was when Cindy Khembo called and told us that they "may be a little late" because they were going to replace the shocks and something else.  It didn’t sound like “just a little late” to us, but we waited until 10:15 am.  Then we were suspecting major delays.  We called Cindy and it sounded like that would be the case.  So, on a lark we called Elifazi Salawila to ask him if he had left and, if not, could we follow him.  He happened to be about three minutes from our hotel on the way out of town with his family!  It couldn’t have been timed better.  We KNOW that God is watching out for us.  You couldn’t time a pit stop better!  

They pulled into the Shire Higlands Hotel where we are at and we’re off in in the Toyoto Carina which is a stick shift. Tight clutch and it dies quickly.  I know some of it it’s me, but it can’t all be me.  Anyway, we finally get out into traffic, gas up with an expensive tank of gas and off we go. 

Shortly out of town the Toyota Ipsum they are driving starts smoking again like it did the day before.   But no worries…..a screwdriver and some pulling of wires “solves “ the problem. 

Off we go again, avoiding potholes five feet wide, keeping from going on the shoulder (cant be fatal) and trying to enjoy the scenery at the same time. Bev is taking lots of pictures.  The scenery truly is pleasing.  The terrain reminds so much of that in Sturgis, South Dakota with the buttes rising sharply from the plateau. 

We had at least four police stops on the way to the lake.   Usually the Ipusm ahead was able to tell the police about us following the saying, “they are with us” and that got us through quickly.  Usually the police checked the stickers on the window indicating insurance being paid etc.  But, on one stop I had to produce my drivers license and explain why I was going to Lake Malawi and its purpose. 

We stopped at Mangochi.  We saw the chartered coach that carried our brethren from Blantyre at the stop.  Bev and I had a bottle of pop and some potato chips and cookies.  That was lunch. 

We come to the Lake…..a happy event and scene.  This is our fifth Feast of Taberncacles at Lake Malawi.  We have that the last 12 miles into Cape Maclear were "bad."  But, sometimes the accounts are exaggerated, I’ve found. I was wrong.  It was a lot worse than I imagined.  I can handle potholes.  But this was miles of solid wasboard road.  No shoulders…it was just a steep drop off with middle washboarded crest.  The care experiences miles and miles of dust and horrible abuse on the vehicle as people are shaken and the sound you hear is like a machine gun.  But the scenery is beautiful.  How much longer to the Fat Monkeys Resort?   We have decided that we are going to stay put at the resort and not go out to see the two projects we wanted to in Salima and near Monkey Bay.  One is our new clinic under construction and the other is guest house.

This Festival site is a new location for these people and it takes some orientation.  Some don’t have accomodations.  Others have special needs that were not factored in.  Mr. Salawila is scurrying all over to accommodate everyone.  He is really an amazing servant.  Some people were not happy with their accomodations and wanted changes. One family NEEDED a refrigerator.  We had one in our room, but it was not essential, so we traded with them.

In all the scurrying and running, Mr. Salawila put a briefcase down that had lots of money for the Feast.  He (we) were horrified when we could not find it. We all prayed. When we went back to the tent area (which is quite open) where the Feast would be held the briefcase was found!  What a relief!!!

Then a power failure.  Power failures are common.  We are used to this…and know that it doesn’t just come back on.  It can be hours. Our resort is prepared and is on limited generator power.

Off to the site in darkness in the car that I can hardly drive.  We come to the tent for the 200 in darkness.  It’s in actually quite a busy district with music playing in the street.  We will be right next to this have our own outdoor meeting. 

An idea is to show to Festival video since it’s dark….but at first we can’t because of no power.  I did bring my projector and will  my laptop to show the video.  There is no screen, but we improvise with two pieces of plywood.  But, another idea!  Let's show the video on the tent canopy of the people.  So, I don’t know moments before whether to give a sermon or hope for power.  But, the power comes powerfully as the tent is lit up.  Quickly we imporovise and point the projector up at a 30 degree angle to the lower canopy and we play the Feast video.  Actually, it’s a good start for the Feast.  Maybe a future idea….show the Festival video from the Home Office first Opening Night. The video looked great being projected on the canopy above.  It was like Omnivision.   Worked great. 

In all the hubbub we got started an hour late, but all went well and were done by 9 pm when people went to their homes.  

One more thing.  I gave the key to our residence to Beverly.  She had to go back before the service to pick something up.  She found that they skeleton key which was on a flimsy string had torn off. Well, there have to be other keys.  But, no!  This is the ONLY key that the resort had.  Bev was told that the only way back into our place would be to break in (and that we would have to worry about another key later!).  

Bev came back to the Feast site. It was dark. Even when there are lights, there is still a dark look all around. We asked for people to look around for the key. Finally, a child FOUND our key where we had parked our car.  The key dropped out of the car when we parked it.  Whew!!   
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