Monday, August 24, 2015

Mondays - Carole's Post

Today is Preparation Day (P-day) and there are some things we can always count on each Monday.  
LAUNDRY.  When I was very young, my mother always had a "wash day".     Now I do too, and you can see what I am always washing.  It is starting to get quite warm again, so there is only one long-sleeved shirt in the bunch.

Also, on Monday, I frequently have a pail or two of wet baptismal clothes and towels left over from Sunday baptismal services at one of the three buildings.  Sometimes the branch members wash the clothes themselves, but this is something I am happy to help out with.

Today also happens to be a clean and polish the shoes day.

Yesterday, after attending meetings in both branches, we went with some members to visit a newly baptized member who was sick.  I thought we would be driving but we ended up walking, and made visits to two other homes along the way.  My "Sunday shoes" were not the best for walking.  The shoes took a beating along with my feet!

We frequently go shopping in the morning because some of the sister missionaries count on us to take them to one of the large Western-type supermarkets.  

We drive down a four land divided highway to get to any of the three major stores. The sisters like to go to Shoprite which is in a western-style shopping mall (really a strip mall).  

Sometimes we Americans just like to start the day with something that seems really familiar (or sort of familiar).

Occasionally, there is a real find - like Philadelphia cream cheese!!  taco sauce! or Hellmann's Mayonnaise (even though the expiration date is in three weeks)!   I frequently dart into Game, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart (thinking of our son Seth who works in the corporate offices at home).
Doesn't this look like any store in the United States?  We hardly know any Malawians who shop at Game because it is considered an expensive store.  However, we buy many supplies here because we can usually find what we are looking for - supplies for the church, the missionary flats or our home.  I wouldn't say that they understand customer service however.  Whenever I have had trouble finding something, I am immediately told it is "finished" meaning out-of-stock.  No one checks; they just know it is "finished".

For groceries, I prefer Chipiku, a Malawian chain down the street.  It's smaller but has a good produce department for things you can't buy at the outside market.  The parking lot is deadly - it is difficult to get in and out and find a parking place.  Plus the outside vendors are relentless.

Sometimes we park in the area and walk, but you have to maneuver through the minibus traffic. 

Occasionally I convince George to go to Limbe for the other Western-style store, Savers.  This is a specialty store where you can find cheeses, candies, nuts, and imported goods that simply can't be found elsewhere.  Still, I should stress that you can NEVER depend on finding what you want anywhere. Inventory control seems non-existent.  Fresh milk (or cream or butter etc)- or anything else for that matter - can be unavailable for weeks at a time.  One time there was no shampoo in ANY of the stores!
  Elder Reynolds is in the background because they took us to Savers soon after we arrived.

Though we pick up vegetables and fruits throughout the week at little local markets, I still like to go to the major Blantyre market on Saturday because that is the day the farmers bring in fresh produce.  I always bargain but who knows if something is a fair price or not?  "Azungu price" is a common term.

Farmers unloading their goods.

Tomatoes are always displayed like this - even in the small towns.

The Blanatyre equivalent of Seattle Pike Place Market!
And just in case you need a new khazu...
or anything else for that matter!

We also try and get to the post office weekly to check on letters and packages for the missionaries.  There is no mail delivery here so everyone has to go to the post office or use a private carrier.

Since we have a "private bag", we take our bag with us and go to the outside appointed window.  George is holding a rock that sits on the sill so each customer can use it to knock loudly on the wooden door.  

That probably wouldn't be necessary except there is frequently loud music playing inside.

George passes to the postal worker the unlocked bag.
If it's a good day, he/she will return it (now locked) with a few letters inside and we know there will be some happy missionaries! If it is a real good day, there will be a notice that they are holding a package, requiring that we take the notice to another window for pick-up.  Sometimes, for unknown reasons, they send us to another post office in town or in the neighboring town to pick up the package.  Once, we had to wait while customs went through a missionary's package. (It was a DHL package delivered to the post office - strange).   We recently received a package from our daughter, 3 1/2 months after it was mailed in Washington D.C. 

A day frequently ends with the zone leaders stopping by to use our computer or scanner.  Last night they had baptismal records to send to the mission office.  Tonight they have a spreadsheet to work on.

Elder Allred in George's office.  This is probably obvious because of the art (sculpture) next to the chair.

Because there continue to be major water stoppages at several of the missionary flats, Elder Allred and Elder Rugumayo frequently come to our house to get water for the missionaries.

Elder Rugumayo fills up bottles of water from our filtered water system in the kitchen.

Off they go with enough water for a day or two.
(See the baptismal clothes still hanging on the line on the back patio).

Our neighborhood, Mandala, has fewer water problems, but even if our water might have been shut off, there is usually plenty of water in the tank outside to share.

We have a very scientific way of checking how much water is in the tank.  Davie climbs up on a ladder and knocks on it to see where the water line might be.

The elders take a hose from the tank and fill up their large containers directly with the unfiltered water.  

The tank is close to the popo (papaya) tree.  We have had a few members come ask for them and Davie uses a ladder and broomstick to knock one down.  Hopefully, it gets caught before hitting the ground.

To conclude... I haven't been sure where to insert this completely random picture, but George and I have stared at this quote (pinned on a bulletin board) through many meetings in the district president's office.  It always makes us smile, as I am sure it would Elder Holland.  Those "L's" and "R's" are tricky in Malawi!