Monday, November 10, 2014

The First Two Days: From Lusaka, Zambia to Blantyre, Malawi--Carole's Post

Arrival in Lusaka was a combination of relief and joy!  We had a 24-hour delay in London due to mechanical failures (twice) which changed all of our flight information.  Because we had no way to contact President Erickson (we could not get on the internet in Johannesburg) as to which flight we would be on (no phone, no internet, no money),  I asked very nicely at a telecommunications shop in the Lusaka airport  if they would call the mission home.  I think my badge helped!  It was also an introduction to the graciousness of the Malawian people.  30 minutes later President and Sister Erickson were there to greet us!

President and Sister Erickson standing with us on the patio at the mission home.

We also met Elder and Sister Skidmore, the office couple.  That was very fun for me because Elder Skidmore writes my very favorite blog about the mission!

The mission home looked so wonderful.  We sat and talked with President Erickson for much of the time.  Unfortunately, he and Sister Erickson were headed out in the morning to tour the mission field.  He had assumed he would have an extra day with us but with the delayed flight, we discussed everything we could in the short time. 
President Erickson in his office with the transfer board.  Our photo and assignment was added immediately.  

That evening we went out with President and Sister Erickson and the three additional couples in Lusaka:  Elder and Sister Skidmore (the office couple), Elder and Sister Humphries (Public Affairs for about five African countries), and Elder and Sister Bodily (humanitarian).

We went to a Chinese noodle restaurant and ate outside.  The weather was perfect.

The following morning we cornered Elder and Sister Skidmore for more discussions.  They are the best and I am sorry we won’t see more of them!  

They drove us to the airport in the afternoon for the flight to Blantyre.
First we had to retrieve our lost luggage from the arrival the day before.
Then we had to pay the excess baggage fee.  We are learning that most things have to be paid in cash.

At last, on our way again!
 Good-bye Zambia, Hello Malawi!

First we deplaned in Lilongwe to go through customs.  I was the last to go through the long line and George went on ahead to retrieve our bags to get back on the plane.  
Unknown to him, I was stuck in immigration because they kept saying they had no record of me.  I kept smiling and saying, “Well, I’m here!”  Finally they fingerprinted me, took a photo, and sent me on my way.

 Elder and Sister Reynolds, the MLS couple in Blantyre, met us at the airport.  It was getting dark so we couldn't see much of the city.  They took us to the home of Elder and Sister Merrill (Church Education System missionaries) who are serving their seventh mission, including five in Africa! 
 Later that night, they took us to our apartment.  Once of the first important things that Elder Reynolds demonstrated was the mosquito zapper.  It looks like a handball racquet but is battery-run so that when you swing it at a mosquito (or just swing it through the air), it "zaps" with a spark and and it's all over for that, or most likely those, little pests.  This has become a very popular sport in the evenings!
 Unpacking for the last time. 
 The mosquito zapper doesn't get them all (don't I wish!) so we sleep under this.  We have to make sure that it hangs to the floor everywhere so there are no little spaces where they can get in.
It has been another very long day!