As an Advent/Christmas gift let me share with you some Malawi memories:

  • Prayer with team members George, Jerry and Gary as we left for Chicago … picking up additional footlockers … meeting Mary Lou Wood … landing in London … taking the tube to Victoria Street Station … enjoying fish, chips and laughter at Shakespeare?s restaurant….
  • Playing tourist … meeting doctors from Columbus, Ohio who were on their way to Malawi: Francesco Catania, Tom Williams, Bill Long, Walter Hull … worshipping at Westminster Abbey … taking the Gatwick Express for our evening flight … falling asleep before takeoff … waking up over Africa!
  • Landing in Lilongwe … snafu at customs … meeting Tom, Jocelyn and friends both old and new–some of whom were returning to the states … loading Toyota Landcruisers with footlockers and carryon baggage … meeting new Malawian friends … traveling 240 kilometers to Embangweni. Impressions of the desert southwest … people walking everywhere … village markets … roadside stands … roasted bats on a stick for 10 kwatcha.
  • The dusty Jenda Road…driving on the left side of the road … arriving in Embangweni … unloading footlockers … being greeted by Jim and Jodi McGill, missionaries … dinner at the home of Dr. and Mrs. George (Betty) Poehlman … hot bath … arrange mosquito netting … lay out supplies for tomorrow from footlockers …. ZZZZZZZ!
  • Awake at 3:45 a.m. Malawi time … journaling by flashlight … oatmeal and raisins for breakfast at 6 a.m. … chapel at 6:45 … a joyous reunion with the chapel choir … a quick trip to a well for demonstrating how: to do a well dedication … a visit to the Embangweni School for the Hearing impaired (seeing classrooms, teacher homes, a dormitory under construction, meeting teachers seeing food being prepared, ordering a bucket from a student who was learning the art of tinsmithing) … learning about the causes of deafness.
  • The Embangweni Full Primary School Celebration … seeing refurbished teacher homes and classrooms … meeting parents … having lunch with Chief Mazukuzuku … learning that the chief had recently become a Christian. Listening to children from the deaf school play “Jesus Loves Me” on color-coded handbells and hearing the chief sing along!
  • Skits … dances … drums … Ngoni dancers … a six year old child reciting 4 chapters of the Gospel of Luke in Tumbuka from memory! Special presentations of shield and spear both to Tom Logan and to me…
  • An eight-well day near Jenda … a green snake and two frogs in an old water hole … receiving news of an accident involving Tom Logan and others… learning that Jerry was safe but that Tom Logan would be airlifted to South Africa (Johannesburg/Pretoria) … injuries to Tom were serious … femur jammed into hip … broken pelvis … broken collar bone … seven broken ribs … fractured sternum … compressed vertebrae …
  • A shallow well song by Maria Moyo: “I have nothing to give to my Lord for what He has done for us. A shallow well with good water, Glory to God! As I have no money, no cows and no wealth of any kind, now I have decided to give him my life.”
  • An evening visit from Deaf School teachers expressing sympathy … preaching, prayers and sharing at Primary School Chapel … preaching at community prayer service … a late night conversation about where God is to be found in the midst of unsettling events.
  • Learning about drip irrigation … visiting the hospital compound … playing with a yoyo and attracting attention from children and adults alike!
  • Well installations at far away places with strange sounding names: Mandala, Chimusebo … Chiza … Custome Ndolo, Musangula …
  • Seeing a 150-year-old smelter … being welcomed by singing women and children … Visiting Etchiyeni Full Primary School … being formally addressed by the Headmaster … a gift of “wapita panjala” (chicken, eggs and beans) … enjoying Rev. Gondwe and his family … learning about their impending move to Mawulabo.
  • A special Saturday afternoon baptism service … 750 people attending … baptized 35 children and 36 adults.
  • Evening show and tell at Rev. Gondwe’s home … 100 guests … questions about America … overnight stay … a bucket bath by flashlight.
  • Communion service … 1000 worshippers … a special gift to Rev. Gondwe—a pulpit robe … great joyful response from the congregation … Rev. Gondwe’s farewell service following communion service: music! gifts! prodigal son skit! presentation of banner to Kamsolo congregation.
  • More shallow wells in remote villages: Musalimu … Vakaza Andreya … Chibula …. Getting stuck in soft sand during a thunderstorm … being dug out by villagers with their hoes … a special evening meal in an African home by lantern light….
  • Market day in Edingeni: used clothing from the U.S. … Zambian chitinzis, bicycle parts, tobacco for snuff, salt, sugar, millet beer, dried fish, etc.
  • Utter poverty … warm hearted people … curious children … laughter at the crazy muzungu (white man) … great joy at each well!
  • Morning chapel in the maternity ward … playing “Fairest Lord Jesus” on harmonica.
  • A joyous Malawian wedding … the bride danced down the aisle on her father’s arm … the groom danced toward his bride arm in arm with his father … a handsome wedding party!
  • Harmonica music and yoyo at well dedications … teeth rattling roads … preaching at a Deacons Court meeting … meeting Rev. Kingsley Nyirenda … a brief excursion to Nkhata Bay on Lake Malawi … a special shallow well celebration at DarnoloSchool.
  • Kusungu National Park … hippos, cape buffalo, zebras … an elephant joining us for dinner! … informal worship on a thanksgiving theme with our doctor friends.
  • A visit to Kauma Village to dedicate a water kiosk–one of a projected 20 to serve a population of 20,000 displaced persons… .
  • The flight home via Johannesburg and London, landing in Chicago.

Shallow Wells Completed: 240
Shallow Wells Under Construction: 60