When we first arrived in Blantyre in early November 2014, the Chikapas were working on their new home high on Mt. Soche, with the exterior brick walls and roof in place. Many of you will recognize the Chikapas--a household of four. President Chikapa, who has been in the Church for 10 some years, is the branch president in Zingwangwa and a returned missionary from Kenya. He is an absolutely wonderful local leader, fully invested in the branch, constantly on the go, shuttling between his job in Limbe, taking on piece work to earn extra money, visiting with members and working on his house. While he has done much of the work on his home himself--typical here in Malawi, he has also acted much like a general contractor, hiring others to help out, because of his busy schedule. Sister Chikapa is from Uganda, also a returned missionary from Kenya (where they met). She is a counselor in the District Young Women's organization and, like her husband, is constantly on the move. She and President Chikapa speak English in the home, since Chichewa is not her native language, though she now gets along pretty well with the local dialect, after having been here for a number of years. They have one son--Nimrod--who is about the age of Joel and Stephanie's twins--close to three--we are constantly watching him with the thought we are seeing roughly the development of our twins. Nimrod is an active little fellow, often at loose, certainly at Church when his parents are tied up with their church callings. Most Malawian children are surprisingly passive when compared to their US counterparts--but that is not true of Nimrod. Having seen so many "azungu" missionaries, he is comfortable around us, and, when he is not down with the sniffles, is willing to sit on our laps at Church. The fourth member of the household is Time, a 12 year old nephew of the Chikapas, who has been living with them for some time.
These several pictures give you a feeling for the terrain. It is not a easy hike up and takes us about 5 to 10 minutes of steady hiking to get to the Chikapa's home site.
Sister Chikapa with the first load to the new house. Brother Chimaliro, second counselor in the branch presidency, and a painter by trade, is on the roof.
The concrete gutter ringing the house is to divert the rain water--which is certainly needed during the rainy season. Once when helping at the Chikapas, we were stuck for a couple of hours in a bad storm, waiting for the rain to abate.
The day I helped with the move, the Chikapas enlisted the help of nephew Time and two of their workers, to act as porters moving the household goods up to the home.
This is the secondary school below the home, and close to the path to the Chikapas, which is as far as we can drive up the hill.
Here are the three intrepid porters, "Time" to the far left. Time is a very funny-loving pre-teen, and the Chikapas have to ride herd on him to keep him at his school work.
|President Chikapa at his home, a week later, when we visit the Chikapas when Tomicah is in town.|
A nice view of the finished home. Just like home, the last job is the landscaping. Sister Chikapa is looking to plant some flowers off to the left where you see the small mounds of soil.
|This ditch is above the house site. It will be filled with crashed rock as a base and large slabs in a dry stacked wall, which will be used to divert water away from the house.|
|In short order, Tomicah got the hang of it and was ready to adopt the Malawian way of transporting goods.|
|Tomicah and President Chikapa.|
|This was one of many large boulders at the site. To crack up the rock, Malawians build a fire at the base, sometimes burning rubber, and then throw cold water on the heated rock. The rock slabs are then used for the dry stack walls.|
As you may be able to tell, Nimrod has the sniffles and wasn't very chipper this day. Usually he is full of mischief.
|In the new house and most of the moving and packing done.|