Friday, September 27, 2013

We had a wonderful time the week of Sept 17-23. Elder and Sister Lyles, Humanitarian Missionaries for the LDS Church had asked if we could help with logistics during the week they were here with a US team. They were conducting training seminars for the Helping Babies Breathe Project. We drove up to Ntcheu to meet them as they were driving down from Lilongwe, thus saving them having to drive all the way to Blantyre and stay over for several days. That was a fun ride, we only got lost once, and almost made it home without getting lost, although we did miss a couple of turnoffs and had to turn around. There are almost no road signs in Malawi, no highway markers, no standard village naming signs, no speed limit signs except in the villages, and no shoulders on most of the roads. We would just ask the soldiers at the checkpoints if we were still on the right road, and where to turn next. They have plenty of those, so you shouldn't be able to get more than 25 kilometers before there is someone to ask. They were very helpful and polite, standing there with their AK-47's. The team took us out to dinner at the 21 Grill, a regionally famous eatery adjacent to the Protea Ryalls Hotel. It's possibly the finest place in town to eat, but dinner cost us all of 9,000MK or about $25US for both of us. The group bribed the band, and when they brought out Sis. Reynolds' dessert (a banana split with a candle in it) they all sang Happy Birthday To You. It was awesome, totally caught her unaware. :-)
After the seminars, we furnished transport back to Liwonde, but elected to stay overnight at Hippo Lodge and go with some of the Mission Couples on a two-hour boat safari on the Shire (say she-ray) River through Liwonde National Park. Most of the pictures are of that trip. Being in the boat, we could really get close to the animals, so we took about 200 pictures or so. Then we drove back to Blantyre while the team continued on to Lilongwe and their flight home.
Two of our Elders have completed their missions, so they went home this week 9/26. Elders Muhlauyo and Machiridza are great young men, and each will be a strong leader in his homeland. This is Africa's time, and being a part of this explosive growth and change is amazing. It is so good to be able to support these young people as they serve. We are truly blessed. Not only that, but we live in a beautiful place--the flowering trees are lovely, not to mention that they smell good and the birds awaken us with lovely song, albeit a little early.

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