Friday, March 27, 2009

Moz #7


Praise the Lord I arrived safely to Lichinga, Moz.  Monday morning Mat dropped me at the bus stop in Chipoka, Malawi at 6am and I only waited a few minutes and a minibus picked me up.  I got to see a lot more of Malawi traveling by minibus than going by boat.  I rode in two minibuses and then my final leg of my journey in Malawi to the boarder was in a little over loaded pick up truck.  It didn't look to bad but once we got out on the road I noticed it had several problems.  There we these two wires hanging under the steering column that the driver had to plug in every time he started it and when we got going say 60km/h the whole front on the truck would shack very bad.  I timed it every five seconds for about a second or two the front would shack and the steering wheel would shack back and forth and it would do this over and over.  I am not sure what was wrong but the driver just acted as if it does this all the time.

 They dropped me at the closets point they could to the bordered and I was greeted by about 6 guys with bikes wanting to take me across the boarder.  They were grabbing  my things and tring to strap it on the back of their bikes before I even new what was going on. There is about a 3 or 4km distance across the boarder that you can either walk or ride on the back of a bike to get across.  After getting my exit stamp from the Malawian office I hopped on a bike while another one carried my things and we headed for Moz.  It was nearing 4pm and I wasn't sure if I should be crossing this late, because I wasn't sure I could get a minibus this late in the day to Lichinga and if I couldn't I wasn't sure I could find some place to stay the night.  I went ahead anyways because I was eager to get back "home" to Lichinga.

The bikes dropped me by the road where there some others waiting to go to Lichinga as well.  After waiting almost 2 hours and now it was almost 6pm and starting to get dark and no minibuses, we were starting to wonder what to do.  Then this guy with a tractor all in pieces in the back of his truck came rolling through.  The waved him down and worked out a deal that a few of us could get a ride with him.  I was told to ride in the front.  I am not sure if that was because I was the only white person or because I was the only one in shorts and a t shirt and it was going to be a cool ride, but not being able to communicate in Portuguese I just did as they said and I was very thankful to be getting a ride.  I was under the impression that it was only a 2 or 3 hour drive from there to Lichinga because it was less then 150km.  I guess I forgot that we were not traveling on Malawian roads any more and that we were now in Moz.  That was one of the worst if not the worst road I have ever ridden on.  It was so full of pot holes and mud that we had to go so slow that after 5 hours we finally rolled into Lichinga at 11pm.  It was a rough ride and I was very sore and I was riding in the front not sure what it must have been like for those in the back.  Peter Wilcox came and picked me up and brought me to my house.  From start to finish it was a 17 hour trip, but still at least five hours shorter then going by boat but not as relaxing.

I slept in and took it easy on Tuesday.  They wouldn't let me do any work and told me I had to rest to make sure that I am fully over my malaria.  In the afternoon I went into town with Elias on the motorbike to get a few groceries and things.  Wednesday again I was told I should rest so I stayed down at my house.  In the morning I made the oven for Jesse and Tanya that I brought the metal back from Malawi for.  I now just have to make or get two shelves made for it and we can start to bake a few things.  I rested for the afternoon because I was starting to get a head ache and not feel so good.  That was probably because I wasn't drinking enough and didn't have a proper lunch.  At supper I roasted peanuts for the first time.  For the first ones I had too much oil and deep fried them instead of roasting and most of them burned.  Then I tried it with a lot less oil and they turned out much better, with a little more practice I think I will get it.  Sometimes I get a craving for peanuts and the only ones I can by are the raw ones that I have to roast myself.

It seems like the priority on some of the jobs here has changed while I was in Malawi.  They have a family and three single ladies's coming in a few months and they need places for them to stay so they want me and a few others to start working on the administration building as soon as I have the kitchen cabinets, bathroom counters and pantry shelves done in the girls house.  There is so much work to be done on the admin building.  If any of you feel you would like to come and give a hand in some work here for any length of time you are more then welcome.

Thursday I got the last cupboard doors made for the kitchen.  Friday I sanded them all and got a coat of varnish on one side of them all.  I also finished the oven for Jesse and Tanya. We haven't had a chance to try it yet. I have copied a design of an oven like this that I have used before. The gas burner stove underneath is supposed to give enough heat to bake whatever our hearts desire. I will let you know how it works. Yes the racks are way over rated for this application but it was the thinnest material i could get that would work. I guess we can roast a thirty pound turkey in here and not worry about the shelf bending, it will just have to be a small thirty pounder.

Saturday everyone at the base is taking the day of and we are going to the lake for the day.  We are all looking forward to a day of fun together.  I think that about brings you up to date on things here.  Thanks again so much for your prayers for travel and for my Malaria.  I feel like I am totally all better and I am trusting the Lord that that is true.

Yours in Christ,


Saturday, March 21, 2009

I am still in Malawi

Greetings Friends and Family,
Monday through Wednesday several of the Bible school students and I worked on building more rabbit cages. Since I arrived we have built 15 cages and they had made 12 before I came. They had hoped to be able to build more but they are running out of materials. This should be enough for them to get start with anyways. I had misunderstood what the rabbits were for. They are raising them to be able to give to some of the orphans so they can raise their own and have some income from them and have some to eat for themselves.

Here are the cages we built with their first four rabbits.

Stephen is one of the students that I worked with.

Wednesday afternoon we finished working on the rabbit cages a little sooner then normal. I came back to my room and felt more tired then normal so I slept for about an hour before supper. Later that evening when I was going to bed I had a fever, the sweats, the chills and my joints were starting to ache. I hadn't every had Malaria but I had heard many people talk about it. I was pretty sure that is what I had. I didn't get much sleep that night. Thursday morning at breakfast I told Mat and Heni that I thought I had Malaria, so they had me start taking medicine for it right away. I was planning to take the boat back to Moz on Friday, so they said that it would be best if I would rest all day Thursday to allow my body as much time as possible to fight this. I slept a good part of the day and I was also able to get packed and ready to go on Friday. Thursday night wasn't much different then Wednesday night. Friday I still felt quite weak. We checked my temperature and it was 103 I was standing for the five minutes or so that I had the thermometer under my tongue. By the time it was done I was almost ready to faint my vision was going blurry and I was losing my balance. I went and took a shower and I felt a bit better. Mat and Heni kept asking me if I thought I should be traveling like this. I said that I thought I can make it. I had called the missionaries in Moz and they were going to meet me where I would get off the boat.
The boat was supposed to come into Chipoka around two and leave by 4. Mat drove me down to the port and we sat there for about half and hour and then he went to buy a couple of pops and saw a notice that the boat would not be coming do to mechanical failures. Mat called the manager of the company and he said that the engine that steers the boat has burned up and they have to find another one. He said that he wasn't even sure if it would be running in a week. After having heard this news I knew I would have to find another way to get back to Moz. We drove back to the base and Heni was glad that I hadn't gone, because she didn't think that I was well enough to be traveling. Mat made some phone calls to see if I could take a bus to Moz but there aren't any buses that go to that part of Moz, so it looks like I will take minibuses. This just means it will be a little more crowded and I will have to make more connections, but I can still make it. Lord willing I will leave on Monday and it will be about a two day journey I think. In my last email I had asked for prayer for my trip back to Moz because I said that there can always be surprises. Some people asked what those could be and now you know.
Friday evening I slept quite well I don't think I had a fever and I didn't have the chills. Today I am feeling quite good, but this is something about Malaria as well that at certain times of the day you can feel very good or you can have a good day and then a not so good one. I hope that by Monday I will be well enough to make the trip back to Moz and again I would appreciate prayer for this.
I have been feeling that the Lord has some things for me to learn through getting Malaria. I haven't been one to handle sickness very well. I have had it easy for quite sometime and the Lord has been teaching me a lot. Now it is time for me to put some of that into practice. Worshipping when maybe sometimes I just don't feel like it. Some nights as I lay in bed unable to sleep because I was sweating too much or whatever I would just start to sing songs. Thanking the Lord that He was letting me go through this, I know it doesn't really make sense in away, but we know that the Lord only takes us through difficult times to bring us out stronger on the other side. I hope this might be an encouragement to some of you who are going through difficult times right now. Father never allows anything to come into our lives that cannot make us better if we are willing to let it.
Yours Brother in Christ,

This is a picture from last Sunday when we went out to some of the Orphan Rescue Units.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Safari Pictures

I am sorry it has taken me so long to post some pictures on here and that it is so few but as it is it took me about an hour to get these ones on here so this will have to do for now.

The five of us that went on the Safari

Mat, Heni, Keisha, Icie. Keisha is wanting to join Teen Missions staff so she has come to Africa and spent four months visiting three of their bases and seeing what they do and she is going home on Tuesday. Icie just came for about 10 days she went home last Sunday

This might be the Monkey that stole bread off our table.

Our "Tent"

Kudu Antelope


Impala Antelope

My first site of African Elephants in the wild

Getting a little sun

One of the biggest Croc we saw

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Moz #5

To My Friends and Family,
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your prayers and emails.  Many of you have sent me emails letting me know that you are praying for me and letting me know what you are doing.  This is so encouraging, thanks.
Ok where should I start, so much happens in a week and I am not sure I can remember all of it but here goes. Last Friday we drove to Liwonde about two hours south of here. From there we took a forty-five minute boat ride up the Shire River through Liwonde National Park to Mvuu Lodge. It was a beautiful ride and we spotted over 50 hippos and one crocodile in the river. Mat and Heni were telling us that this is not a zoo and we are not necessarily going to get to see all the animals in the park because they are in their natural habitat and not penned up. Also it is still rainy season and the animals have many more places to hide because everything is still so green and lush.

At the lodge they had a buffet lunch ready for us. During lunch the monkeys were running around the dinning area and one came and swiped a piece of bread off of our table. They made excellent food and all the meals were delicious I think I gained a few pounds. After lunch we rested a little in our "tents". They call them tents because they have a canvas roof but they have walls and nice big screen windows to possible site animals. A very nice bathroom with hot water and they don't have power out there so they use solar and generators and we had power in our "tents" as well.

At 4 in the afternoon we left on our first safari. There were five of us in our group and two others on our safari plus our two guides. It was so nice to get to see the animals roaming free and yet they would still let us get quite close to get some pictures. Here is a list of the animals we saw. Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Bushbuck, Impala, Waterbuck, Elephants, Hippos, Warthogs, Baboons, Monkeys, Squirrels, White Breasted Cormorant, Grey Heron, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Rufous Bellied Heron, African Fish Eagle, Southern Owl, Fiery-necked Nightjar, Pied Kingfisher, African Gray Hornbill, Southern Ground Hornbill, Yellow Weaver, Giant Ground Gecko, Crocodile and Nile Monitor. We were very privileged to get to see so many animals but they say in a few months you can see many more and a lot closer. We had our safari during the day then we went and watched the sunset over the river and then went on a night safari. We saw many hippos up on the land, before this all the once we had seen were in the water. They only come out at night to eat because their skin is very sensitive and they can get sunburned. They come out to eat their 160kg of vegetation they need a day and then drink their 60 gallons of water during the day while in the river.

We got back from our night safari around 7:30pm and they had wonderful supper prepared for us. After eating too much again we were ready for bed. I slept very well until about 2:30am when I was woken up by hippos outside our tent. They make a very load noise that is hard to describe and we could also heard them munching on grass. It was kind of surreal to lay there and think that there were actually hippos outside, but it was really cool at the same time. Saturday morning we went on a boat safari we spotted many birds, hippos, crocodiles, the biggest crocodile being about 10 or 12 feet long and probably about 80 years old, they can live to be 120. At 10am we rode the boat back down the river to end our safari experience. It was definitely a high light for me that I will not forget. That afternoon we went to a place where they sell many wood carvings and we got a few souvenirs.

Sunday morning we went to Dedza. It is town that has a well known pottery factory. We stopped in there to buy a little pottery and have brunch because we were passing that way to go and visit three of the ten orphan rescue units that Teen Missions has here in Malawi. These units have one or two staff at them and they take carry of any where from 300 to 500 orphans at each unit. The children don't live there but they come on a regular bases for teaching, basic medical needs and some food at times. You can tell that the children love coming there and the coordinators really have a heart for the kids. It is a big job they have but they do it well. We spent all of Sunday going and visiting the three units and hopefully being an encouragement to them.

Ok so it sounds like so far all that I have been doing is going on safaris, site seeing and buying souvenirs. Boy this sure is the life, ok well that is not all I am doing here in Malawi. Monday I was back working on the garden house and got finished with the bit of brick laying I was doing in there. Since then I have been working on rabbit hutches. You might be thinking why is Andrew in Malawi making rabbit hutches? Teen Missions has a Bible school here at there base and they teach English students as well as Chichewa students. The Bible school is free for the students to attend and they are in class part of the time and then they work part of the time. They also raise many animals like, cows, pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, turkeys and soon to be rabbits when we get these hutches built. They eat some of the animals themselves and sell others to help support the Bible school. They had one hutch almost done when I got here and we have made one more now and we have four more to go. Once they are finished there will be about 50 cages.

It has been nice to get reacquainted with Mat and Heni and see the work that God has called them to here in Chipoka, Malawi. They have been so nice to me and letting me eat all my meals with them and doing my laundry. Thanks so much Mat and Heni for all you have done for me.

Life here in Malawi is in many ways similar to the part of Moz I was in but it has many differences as well. It is much warmer here and thankfully the power is working most of the time at night so that I can have a fan blowing on me otherwise I wouldn't be able to sleep. It is much more humid probably because we are right on the lake. Out my window every morning I see the sun rise over Lake Malawi. You may remember that I had mentioned in one of my previous updates that I heard that only the mosquitoes that don't buzz can carry Malaria. I don't know if this is true but up until coming to Malawi I thought all mosquitoes buzzed but there are some here that you can't hear. I hope they don't all carry malaria because I have been bitten many times.

Funny things I have seen here in Malawi. They carry just about everything on bikes here. I have often seen goats tied down to the rack on the back of a bike or laying over the handle bars and they are alive. Or sometimes a guy will be riding with 10 or 12 chickens hanging upside down of the handle bars. In many countries I have seen just about everything sold by the road. But on Wednesday I went into Lilongwe with Mat and I saw a man sitting at an intersection and selling kittens, this was a first for me. Mat said they bought one from him some months ago. Oh look, I am starting to write like the Malawians talk. They don't say "A while ago" it would be "Some months ago." You don't say "See you later", but "We'll meet" I find these little differences interesting.

I went to Lilongwe with Mat so that I could get my 3 month visa to return to Moz. I went to the Moz Embassy and I saw the price list for the different visas. It said 8,800 for my three month single entry. I thought the prices would be in Moz currency which is meticai and the exchange rate is about 25 on the US dollar. That would mean the visa was going to cost around $350.00. It said the currency that the prices were in was MK which I right away thought was Meticai, but it was Malawian Kwacha and the exchange rate on it is 168 to the US dollar. There largest bill here is 500 Kwacha which is a little over $3.00 US so you can imagine how many bills you would have if you had to exchange any large quantity of money. Thankfully they were able to process my visa that afternoon and I was able to get it back that day.

There are many things available in Malawi that are not in the part of Moz that I was in. While in Lilongwe I was able to get a few things. One of which is a large sheet of steel that I am going to roll up and take back to Moz to make an oven for Jesse and Tanya. I had drawn up a plan to make one when I was still there and then I went to price metal and it was going to cost about $100.00, I can get metal better suited for the job here for $14.00. I don't understand why prices can vary like this, but they do.

I am looking at returning to Moz some where around the middle or end of next week. Because of a few things I am not sure if I am going by boat again or if I will go by land. Your prayers would be appreciated for this return trip as traveling here can always have its surprises.
Yours in Christ,

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Moz #4

Hello a Warm Greeting from Malawi,
I turned 26 years young on March 1. That evening everyone meet at the Wilcox's and they had a party for me. Tanya made a delicious chocolate cake with peanut butter icing it was so good I think I am going to have birthdays more often. Tiffany made some good chocolate chip squares. We don't have chocolate very often so when we get to eat something with chocolate in it we all really enjoy it. They also got some gifts for me which I was totally not expecting. I was given a black hat that has the Mozambiquian flag on it and it says "I love Mozambique" in Portuguese. I was also given a very nice journal and several pictures that Amerel and Isaiah coloured for me. It was such a nice time and then we ended it off with a good time of worship and prayer.

Monday was my last full day in Lichinga. I made one of the bathroom counters and put the second coat of varnish on the kitchen counter. Monday evening the Wilcox's had me over for supper. Peter also wrote up a letter of invitation for me so that I can hopefully apply for my three month visa at the Mozambiquian Embassy in Malawi.

Tuesday morning Jesse drove me into town to catch a mini bus so that I could get to Metangula to catch the boat to Malawi. I think it was too mini for all twenty of us in there. I was quite comfortable thankfully for the two hour ride. I was surprised by how fast we went most of the time we were going 120km to 140km and a lot of the time the speed limit was 60km speed limits are just suggestions I guess. I got into Metangula at 8:30am and the boat didn't come till 1:30 so I had several hours there. I sat in front of the immigration office for a couple hours. There was a man that works for customs and he spoke English so he and I chatted for a while. Then he let me put my bag in one of their rooms so that I could walk around town for a while. I had a good time there are a lot of Malawians there so there were many people that spoke English. I needed some lunch so I found this guy frying fish and French fries at the side of the road. The French fries were really good and the fish was too but it was quite small so it was had to separate the meat from the bones.

Ilala (The name of the boat) arrived then they have to small boats they let down of the sides and they come to the beach and we got in and then they took us out to the boat When I first got on the boat I went to the upper deck that is first class to see what is was like. It wasn't all that great just a deck and you can rent a mattress if you want. There were four Europeans up there two guys and two girls. We exchanged greetings and I asked them a little about the ship and what was the best class to stay in. They said first class but I choose second because it was quite a bit cheaper. I asked them why they were in Malawi, they said to drink beer and then said that they were traveling. I at first was thinking about staying up there with them but they were just sitting there drinking playing cards and the conversation wasn't the best so with everything considered I moved to second class where they have padded seats and tables no beds.

Before getting on the boat I had met a Malawian named Edward and I had no idea that this was to be a God appointment for the two of us. After I put my bag in second class I walked out to the bow of the boat and there was Edward leaning against the side. He called me by name and I was a little startled to hear someone call my name till I saw who it was. I leaned against the side with him and we chatted a bit. He asked how Canada is different from some African countries. I thought where do I start I said life is much simpler here but I said many people in Canada want so much stuff that they have got themselves into a lot of debt and that the country wasn't doing well economically. I said so many people are looking for happiness in things but I said there is only one person who can do that. He said "Who is that." I said "Jesus." He laughed and said that it was true. I got to share my testimony with him and share that Jesus wants us to enter into a relationship with him and He wants to live in us. He said that he had accepted Jesus in 2002 but he wasn't sure that he would be in Heaven. He had lots of questions for me like, will there only be 144,000 people in Heaven you know what group he was talking to that told him that, then he wanted to know if we as Christians were going to go to Heaven or if God was going to make the earth paradise, should we worship Mary because she is the mother of Jesus, should we celebrate Christmas, Easter or even our own birthdays and will everyone see Jesus when He returns or only the Christians? I told him, I don't know how many times but I told him, we must always go back to what scripture says and see if what we have been told agrees with scripture and if not stick with the word of God. I tried to show him scriptures that relate to each topic he asked about and we had such a good time together; it was defiantly a God thing. Please pray for Edward that he would continue to seek out his answers from the word of God.

While sitting there in second class I met two other people and they will be traveling around several different southern countries for four months. She was from Ireland and he was from Australia. They were very nice and we talked quite a bit about our different experiences. They also watched my things for me so that I could go and wonder around the boat and take pictures and things.

Supper time came around and I bought some food. They gave me two big helpings of sima (the stuff much like mashed potatoes made from corn flour) and some beans and a little meat in a sauce. It was a lot of food for about $4.00. It was very good but I just couldn't eat it all.

Shortly after 6 the sun went down so by 8 I was ready to try and get some sleep. I tried to sleep on the padded benches in second class but they are quite narrow and it is an enclosed area and it was quite hot and I was doing a lot more sweating then sleeping so I went out on the deck and tried to sleep on a wooden bench out there were there was a nice breeze. The bench was a bit hard but I think I slept a little.

At 5am Wednesday morning the captain came over the PA and announced that we were at Chipoka which was my getting off point. We got in much sooner then was expected. Mat and Heni weren't expecting me till 9 or 10 am and I got off the boat at 5:30. I waited for a while and then started walking for a bit. I borrowed someone's sim card and put it in my phone and tried to send a text to Mat, but it seemed his phone wasn't working. There were guys riding around on bicycles more then willing to take me where I needed to go. They all seemed to know where Teen Missions was so I got on the back of one big and put my bags on the back of another and they took me the 4km to the Teen Missions base. I showed up at Mat and Heni's door at about 8:30. They had been told the boat hadn't come yet. It was fine I enjoyed the experience of getting to ride on the back of a bike in Malawi.

Mat made me some toast and eggs for breakfast and while I ate they brought me up to speed on the plans for the next couple of weeks. There are a few work projects here that Mat has that he would like if I could help out with. They have also booked a safari for Friday and Saturday. There will be a group of us going, some of the Bible school students and a few other volunteers. I am really looking forward to this. Mat and Heni were saying that they have been waiting and wanting me to come for a few years and now finally the Lord has open the door and I am here. This morning Mat drove me into Selima to get my entry stamp and visa into Malawi because there was no place to do it when I got off the boat. We ran a few other errands as well and got back here mid afternoon.

I have a nice room with four beds, but I think I will only use one and my own shower and toilet with running water, ya that is exciting well maybe not to you but to me.

Thursday I spent most of the day working on the garden house. It is a house they have made with a concrete roof and they will put about a foot of dirt on the roof and grow vegetables up there. I was working inside finishing bricking some walls up to the ceiling and putting in two door frames and poured a concrete lintel over one of them. I ran out of bricks so I wasn't able to finish. I finished out the day working on a rabbit hutch.

We Friday morning on a two day safari, I am so excited about it. I will try to post some pictures when we get back. Well I think this is good enough for now. Sorry I didn't have time to make it shorter.

In Christ,