We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Return from The Warm Heart of Africa

We are back in Tanzania after a wonderful trip south through Malawi! It is difficult to know where to begin and what to say as we seem to have done and seen so much in our 12 days away! We took two and half days to drive to Zomba; it was a scenic drive, most of it alongside Lake Malawi which is vast and beautiful! We were stopped along the way numerous times for police checks, and twice caught for speeding - once in Tanzania and once in Malawi (I’ll leave you to guess who that was!) But otherwise the journey was uneventful with lots of rounds of Happy Families, listening to stories like the Secret Garden and Little Grey Rabbit and periodic look-outs for possible bush stops, which is harder than you think in a country where there are always people walking along the road and we attract a fair bit of attention!

We had a wonderful time with Paul and Helen Jones, the EI directors for Malawi. They warmly welcomed the six of us (we were travelling with Andy and Angela) into their home and made sure we learned as much as we could in our time with the large EI team there. We were thoroughly spoiled with pancakes and Canadian maple syrup and cinnamon buns and muffins for breakfasts! Every day we were able to visit different areas where EI is working, and were inspired with ideas to bring back with us. It was very encouraging to see so many lives being transformed, to hear firsthand their stories; widows who had no hope for the future now meet together to study the Bible, they work together to set up small businesses to generate income and have an established Village Savings and Loans program which enables entrepreneuring investment. Leaders are trained in rural villages to teach basic nutrition and hygiene, particular attention is given to pregnant women and women with young children. Malnutrition and sickness are so common and it is so good to see the changes being made. Orphans are being cared for, taught and trained in practical skills. Water is being pumped for children in schools…

We began our journey home on Friday and stayed at various places on the way home. We stayed beside the Lake for the first two nights and enjoyed swimming and splashing in it! The sunsets and sunrises were a picture and the fish was delicious! The third night found us up a mountain near to Livingstonia. The little raised huts we stayed in were perched right on the edge of the mountain and had the most spectacular view! Even standing in the outdoor shower (heated by a fire) gave an awesome view (hopefully only out and not in!) Unfortunately we were not able to make it to Livingstonia itself as we had some heavy rain and the roads were horrendous! We slid off the road in the mud after only 100m! With some help, we were out and off again, but after slipping around up a muddy track for a little longer we were halted by another truck well and truly stuck in the mud! Andy skillfully manoeuvred a sliding 9-point U-turn on a slippery, steep mud road and we gave up getting up to Livingstonia and headed down the steep mountain road with sheer drops and hairpin bends. And all breathed a sigh of relief at the bottom!

We had a great time with Andy and Angela on our travels! The girls love them to bits and they really are super surrogate grandparents! They played games, listened to all their chattering, and helped Amisadai learn to swim!

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