Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Final Blog

I am thankful to God for blessing me with an amazing, life changing trip. I am thankful to everyone who supported me with prayers, financial donations, and yard sale donations. It couldn't have happened without you all and for that I thank God for blessing me with caring people like you in my life.

It's been a very emotional summer for me. Going to Malawi really opened my eyes to what's important in life. When I came back I felt guilty for going back into my regular routine. Things that were important to me before no longer seemed to me like they should be important. I had my fantasy football draft right when I got back and I just couldn't get into it because it seemed ridiculous to me that this is what I cared about and spent my time on.

In Malawi it was all about God and people. Here it's just so different. It's weird. It was like coming back from Tijuana only times ten. My life has definitely been changed. I want to continue relations with Malawi and the Pittsburgh Presbytery Partnership team.

I also have $300 left over from all the donations that I received. I believe that I am going to put that towards pumps for irrigation of the land. Each pump is about a hundred dollars and it just seemed to me to be a very important thing over there. I'm going to have to talk to people about how to make that happen. If the money does go towards something else, I will be sure to blog about what it is being put towards.

Blessings to you all,


August 19, 2009

Went to the airport this morning at 10 AM. We checked our bags and stuff and I found Joseph, Sidney, Jen, and Robin(A guy that I hadn't met yet). I talked to them for an hour or so then we had a big circle prayer and I said my goodbyes. It was sad. Definitely a mixed feeling though because I'm super excited to get home at the same time.

We had a short flight(2 hours) to Joburg. When we landed we had to rush through the airport to catch our next flight. We got to the gate and there was a huge line so we were fine.

I sat next to Jennifer which was fun. We played a lot of Yahtzee and kept stats. Gary got in on it a little bit too. I am the champion of Yahtzee over the Atlantic Ocean. I can tell you that much. I also watched The Day After Tomorrow and Garden State. I'm trying to stay up super late to get back on American time.

Tried to sleep after Dakar but it just didn't go so well. Maybe slept 4 hours if I was lucky. Had an Ambien and a glass of wine to knock me out. I don't recommend that. I was a little messed up and I didn't even really sleep. Ambien knocks you out, but if you get woken up it doesn't help that.

Had a beer and French toast for breakfast in D.C. My luggage never made it out of Joburg so that's pretty poopie to say the least. I was upset, but what can you do? Beth picked me up at the airport. It was great to see her again. Had dinner with her, my mom, and Rob. Told all my stories and showed them all my pictures. After that I went to see my dad at work.

I'm exhausted and I need to sleep. It's good to be back, but weird.

August 18, 2009

Rained pretty much all day today. It was shopping day. That was crazy. Went to a Kiri market(wood carvings). They just swarm you when they see white people. In your face. Did a lot of bartering. Got some good deals I think. But it was not a real enjoyable experience. I didn't get to inspect everything as well as I would have liked to. A couple of the sculptures were a little broken, but nothing too bad. I liked bartering though. That's the first time I really ever did it. It was fun.

After that, we went to the weaving factory that gives work to people with disabilities. I was pretty much out of money at this point so I couln't afford much.

After lunch we headed up to Mt. Mulanje again to see the Mulanje Mission Hospital. It was a really nice facility(for Malawi mind you). I guess they had made a lot of improvements in the past several years. The guy giving us the tour talked about the main diseases there. Malaria was the number one disease that people came to get treated for by a landslide. HIV was second. It was like 19,000 to 6,000 cases last year. He did say though that about 1 in 8 or 9 people in Malawi have HIV.

After dinner I finished packing. I'm leaving just about everything here. My checked bag weighs 10 KG which I guess is just over 20 lbs. Giving a huge bag to Ellen that me and the girls filled up with all of our stuff. She is going to make sure that it is given to people who need it.

August 17, 2009

It was cold and rainy this morning. Felt just like home. Sidney and Joseph made it for breakfast and they said goodbye as I was off back to Grace Bandawe. It was sad to leave, but good to meet up with the whole team again and share stories. It was a lazy day, so that was cool. We had a meeting with Flethcher, Ellen, Mike, and Kay Day to talk about our esperiences good and bad. Everybody had a pretty smooth trip.

After lunch we met with the General Secretary of the Synod of Blantyre. He's important somehow, but don't ask me what he does.

We had the farewell dinner tonight. About 13 people from Chilumba came so that was awesome. Joseph, Sidney, Jen, Noel, Amos, Deuce-a, the Abusa, Miya Abusa, a couple clerks of session, and some others. Dinner was fried chicken and the usual lineup otherwise. Delicious. I'm gonna miss nsima.

August 16, 2009

Church was this morning and it was 5 hours long. It really didn't seem that long. Lots of singing and dancing. Lots of speeches. Another church was there visiting. So gift exchanges with them, gift exhcanges with me. A lot going on. I really liked the service, but I had a hard time following the sermon because Sidney was just trying to translate the general idea to me.

Lunch was at the manse. I saw the brick from Heritage and a tree that the Fishers planted ten years ago or so.

Then there was a festival at the church. Youth choirs singing to raise money. They made $15,500 Kwatcha. I think. I got to talk to a lot of different youth here. They finally got up the courage to speak to me. So that was cool. I wish that would have happened earleir.

After the festival, we had a blackout. Power went out finally. They say it happens everyday, but this is the first time for me. It was out for about an hour.

Dinner was at Ellen's with Sidney and Joseph. Very relaxing. After dinner, I gave the three of them gifts. I also gave a gift to Ivy(Ellen's niece who never hangs out with us) and Samuel(Ellen's servant).

August 15, 2009

I decided to sleep in a half hour this morning since everything is always on Malawi time anyway. Turned out that breakfast was gonna be 30 minutes late so I was perfect.

Today I didn't do anything. I talked to Ellen for two hours, which was nice, and I watch TV with Joseph all day. He is obsessed with Emmanuel TV and this guy called Prophet T.B. Joshua. Really interesting guy. Heals people, predicts future events, and exorcizes demons. All on TV. Of course I'm always a little skeptical about those kinds of things, but who knows. It could have been real I suppose.

So after a very relaxing day, we went to zonal prayers at BCA or BAC. I have a hard time with all of these zones. We took a mini bus to get there. That was interesting. We got off at this bus transfer place, which was insane. Just buses everywhere. And we had a hard time finding the one we needed to be on.

We got to the zonal prayer and there were like 30 people there. We sang, I gave the Paul and Silas talk again, and we prayed. It was like a mini church service. It's amazing to see how dedicated everybody is to praising God and learn more about Him here. It really puts American Christianity to shame.

Then another big dinner at another zone. Chilumba A or B. I can't remember. I gave a sermon at this dinner about the fruit of the spirit. It went well. It's weird preaching with a translator.

August 14, 2009

Today was an adventure. Liwande (another animal park) was where we went and it was a good two and a half hours away. And of course we left a little late. I went with Linut, Sidney, Joseph, and Alex. Nobody knew exactly how to get to it once we got close. So we kept asking for directions and ended up on this back back road. We're driving toward this bridge that no car should ever attempt to go over, so I figured we would be turning around. But oh no. We went zooming towards it and bottomed out the worst I have ever experienced in a vehicle. So after we got across (Praise God!), we got out to check out the car. Flat tire. Typical. Spare tire in the trunk with a four way tire iron that doesn't fit. Also typical. So we had a pump and pumped up the tire and kept driving. Somehow, Liwande was less than a mile away. As we pulled up to the gate, the Bethany team was pulling out. I flagged them down and it turned out that they had a tire iron that fit. Ambuwe di wabwino(the Lord is good)!

So we head in to the park finally. Lots of Impala, monkees, and other deer like animals. After maybe 30 or 40 mins, the guys in the car are ready to leave. I told them that we should drive in farther to see all of the elephants and hippos. Bethany just got done telling me that they saw a ton of them. But they wouldn't listen to me. It was very frustrating. So we left without seeing the cool animals. We went to this place across the river called Hippo View. Very nice place, but you couldn't really see the hippos unless you went out on a boat. And we didn't have the time or the money for that.

We got back super late of course, so we had to walk all of my stuff to my new host family's house in the dark. It wasn't too far so it was ok. Ellen has a very nice house with running water.