Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tomicah's Visit to Malawi--Photos--George's Post


The following are photos from Tomicah's stay with us in Malawi.  Carole and I debated whether we should go to a game park with Tomicah, largely on the grounds that such an excursion bore no resemblance to our actual experience here as missionaries.  In the end, we reached a compromise--we would do a short trip.  It was a fun diversion for us, and hopefully interesting for Tomicah.  But Tomicah was a good sport and allowed us to drag him around most of the townships where the members of the Zingwangwa and Blantyre Second Branches live. 



A close up shot of the stash of candies and other treats Sarah assembled for her parents.
 

Carole is excited to get a bag of jelly-bellies and chocolate chips.

Tomicah was concerned about getting the two suitcases with goodies through customs, not knowing what the custom agents were apt to think or what they might extract as concessions--perhaps demanding a few of my Jordan almonds.  In the end, customs chose to search the one suitcase with clothes and laundry.


For us, it was like Christmas.

The first afternoon we headed up Mount Soche to visit with the Bandas.  This was the beginning of Tomicah's introduction to his celebrity status as an "azungu."  Kids assaulted him everywhere with their favorite chants and English phrases.  "How are you?"  "I am fine"  "Azungu, azungu"

Just below the Bandas' home on Mount Soche.

Once familiar with the camera, kids--like kids everywhere--love to have their pictures taken.

It was twilight by the time we started down from Mount Soche.  Carole was a little worried about blundering around the top of the mountain in the dark, so we choose to forego taking Tomicah up to find Brother Sangala--one of our sweetest members.

 

Tomicah the photographer.  He has a wonderful camera, a recent birthday present and an ideal gift for someone headed to Africa.

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Liwonde National Park, straddling the Shirer River, is noted for its large herds of hippos, elephants and crocs.  These fellows were enjoyed an indolent morning nap.

Justin was our guide--for the land rover safari drive (including night drive), early morning walk, and mid-morning boat cruise.

Elephants in the wild are really quite majestic.  They have no natural predators in the park, so the herd is growing rapidly, so much so that the Malawi games department plans to relocate some 300 elephants to other parks sometime in the near future.

As I recall, this was the leaf of a butterfly tree.




Tomicah on our morning hike.  We all thought Eli, Thomas and Lincoln (perhaps even Mim) would have loved the adventure.  Indeed, all of our grandchildren would have had a good time. 

Your guess--elephants' or hippos'.  It was amazing how much data the guide could extract by examining the dung.



A hippo's skeleton.

A candelabra tree.


Amazing prehistoric animals. 


This is a shutter speed problem.  The intent was to get the photo taken while they were facing me.  No such luck.




His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika is the current president of Malawi.  He taught law in the United States for some 30 years after getting a masters in law from Yale Law School.  While opinions understandably differ, some have been disappointed, hoping he would be more progressive.  Malawi has suffered from a number of nasty financial scandals, with high ranking officials stealing millions from the government's coffers.

On the way back to Blantyre, we stopped to buy a couple of mice skewers from kids hawking them along the main road.

Christopher Sitolo lives in the quarters behind our residence.  He is from the Ngoni tribe, originally from South Africa.  While you may have thought the mice skewers were for Carole or Tomicah, they actually were for Christopher.  They are still considered tasty and a good source of protein.  Christopher, here in a chef's uniform, is attending the Malawi School of Tourism.  He expects to intern at a 5-star hotel in Lilongwe this summer (summer in Malawi time), and there is a fair possibility that he will be selected in a year or so to go to Vienna for a special tourism course.  He is a returned missionary from the Zimbabwe Harare Mission, the first counselor in the Blantyre Second Branch Presidency, and a good friend.

Tomicah is going native, carrying this bundle up the steep hill to the Chikapas' new home.

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Carole and Tomicah just below the Mwale's home.  Sister Mwale is a wonderful member, the wife of the First Counselor in the District Presidency, and an active member of the Public Affairs Committee.  She is a natural--friendly, outgoing, and positive--and always has a smile.



Brother Tsegula and Tomicah, inspecting the crops and fields around the Tsegula family compound, near the Three Ways Market.

 

At the main Blantyre market, within walking distance of our residence.