Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday, Oct 12, 2015: traveled from Johannesburg, South Africa to Lilongwe, Malawi

Due to the jet lag/ time change etc. we could not sleep-in this morning as I had hoped, but after breakfast I was back taking a nap before we went to the airport. The rest of our day was spent in transit, flying from South Africa north to Lilongwe, Malawi.  It is further than you think, plus this flight had a stop-over in southern Malawi in the city of Blantyre.  When we arrived in Lilongwe our ride was not there – there was a misunderstanding as to which flight we would be on – they were actually at the airport earlier in the day for us.  So sorry! 

It had been hot at midday but by now, 4:45 it was cooling down and the temp was beautiful. The airport is about 30 minutes outside the city of 4 million.

By now, 5:45 -6:00, it is dusk and getting dark – at this latitude, dusk does not last very long. It goes from bright to dark very quickly.  As is common in Africa people were walking and biking right on the roadway when it is pitch black (6:00-6:15) as there are no lights nearby – I don’t know how a driver can see people as quickly as he did, but apparently they have a sixth sense! 

All of a sudden we heard this funny noise on the vehicle - it was a very nice Toyota SUV.  The front right tire (tyre) was going flat!  When is the last time you changed a flat tire?  In fact, when was the last time you had a flat tire??  And in the dark! As I mentioned, it was on the front right – that is the tire next to the road when you are driving on the left side of the road! We pulled off the road as far as we could get, but….

Thank goodness I had 2 flashlights with me in my purse – I held one on the tire so the guys could see what they were doing in the dark, and the other I had shinning toward the oncoming traffic so they could see where we were. Thank goodness the spare was good and the two guys knew what they were doing! We were back on the road again.

Arrangements were made for us to stay at a new 5 Star hotel on the edge of town.  Our host, Justin, is a member of the Malawi Parliament and he was able to negotiate good rates for us.  After we were in our room Justin left and will return for us tomorrow morning around 9:00. We had a lovely meal in the restaurant here at the hotel. We are tired and ready for a good night’s sleep. 

Over the next couple of days, I will be telling you more about Justin and the NGO (Non-Government Organization) he founded here in Malawi.  He began his work while in Bible College here in the capital city Lilongwe, then he studied in the US.  However, he has a passion for his own people and his own country so he came back here to be a leader, enlarging the vison of his NGO.  Then his birth village came to him about representing their area in Parliament which is what he is doing at this point.  He has passed the reins of his NGO on to other capable persons.  He is also on the board of several NGOs working in the area. 

While we were waiting at the airport we saw two vehicles pull up with the “World Vision” logo on their doors – Cal & I sponsor several children through World Vision so we immediately noticed the logo.  Due to the large numbers of orphan children (due to AIDS), it is not surprising to see World Vision working here.   

Justin himself raised by a single Mom, due to his Dad’s death when he was less than a year old, later was raised by a Baptist minister in the area.  Malawi has around 800,000 orphans who cannot all possibly live in orphanages, so Justin decided to begin a foster home concept for them, just like himself, raised by the Baptist Minister family.   The NGO he began is called “Save the Orphans Ministry” (SOM).  They have almost 4000 kids placed in foster homes and work with 25,000 more kids in different ways.
As we learn more and see more we will share more of his ministry. Tomorrow we are staying here in Lilongwe – one of the activities will be visiting Parliament which is currently not in session.  We’ll tell you later what else we do.  We also know for 3 days we are going to an area 4 hours from here to help with activities – what all that will be….. we’ll tell you later!
Our Hotel In Lilongwe

Sculptures in the Lobby

Flower arrangement in the Lobby

Court Yard in front of the Hotel

Hotel at sunset

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