Thank you to everyone who attended our presentation at the brunch yesterday. This is the book I mentioned that we all read to gain an understanding of Malawi culture prior to the mission trip. I highly recommend reading it. The book is available through our public library. Watch the video below for an description of this true story from the author, William Kamkwamba.
On Sunday, October 18, at 10:00 AM there will be a brunch at Christ Lutheran Church where we will be sharing more information about the mission trip to Malawi. You are warmly invited to attend.
One of the rituals before a meal is served in Malawi is that the host has everyone wash their hands. You can see an example of this in the photo. They pour the water over your hands, and it is caught in a large basin. We will be doing this hand washing ritual at the brunch for those who want to participate. It's a humbling experience knowing that someone (a woman or girl) most likely carried that water a long distance.
I hope to see you there!
We were picked up in a bus named "Rosa" that is normally used by the choir. The drive from the airport to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malawi (ELCM) compound was approximately 40 minutes. We settled in to their guest house and were given a tour of the compound. The keys for the doors are skeleton keys. This was the case throughout the country.
Our journey began on Tuesday, July 21. We met at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in the morning. We flew to Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC. That flight only took a couple of hours. From there, we took a South African Airways Flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. This flight left at 5:40 PM and took 17 1/2 hours. We landed in Dakar, Senegal, to refuel. However, we were not allowed to get off of the plane in Dakar.
On July 22, we landed in Johannesburg around dinner time. We stayed there overnight, and the next morning flew to Lilongwe, Malawi, which took a couple of hours. You can see in the photos at Lilongwe that there is a lady scanning passengers' foreheads checking for fever as we enter the airport. The other large airports had infrared cameras for this purpose. As we were about to learn, many things in Malawi are much more labor intensive than the same tasks in the United States or elsewhere.
Feel free to post questions in the comments, and I will try to answer them.
The link below goes to a site that compares the United states to Malawi (and other countries). Selecting "Find Malawi on the map" will then display a map of this small country located in Central Africa.
Americans use much more electricity, and the electricity here is much more reliable. Power outages are common in Malawi. One day we walked to a grocery store in Karonga and the electricity was out. They had candles burning in each aisle and remained open. There weren't many refrigerated items, so it didn't pose a problem. The hotel where we stayed was running on a generator.
Americans also have much more money. The only place in Malawi where I used a credit card was at the airport gift shop. I never saw an ATM. Cash was used for all monetary transactions.
I encourage you to explore this link. It provides a good frame of reference for comparison.
If Malawi were my home
This is the group from the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin - ELCA who traveled together to Malawi, Africa in July and August including myself (LuAnn Dohms) and Dick Tyson from Christ Lutheran Church. Prior to our trip, we met at Luther Park for dinner and to pack donated items for the trip. Each of us checked two bags. One contained our personal items and the other contained the donated items. It was less expensive for us to check a suitcase than the cost of shipping these items. This blog will be used for sharing our journey with you.