Saturday, September 13, 2008

Visiting Mom, Family and Friends

Hi! Im in the states for a few week. We had a great 80th Birthday for my mom. August was action packed as I moved out of my house with it's man eating dogs and entertained a group of people from Whittier Area Community Church who is paying and praying for the building of our new Hospital ward. It was fun to be with them and see the many faces who have worked so hard at making this dream for Malawi come true. We experienced some big disapointments together as the container they had sent did not come in time for them to do the painting they had hoped to be able to do. However they saw alot of the differant ministries here in Malawi and were able to experience the joys of meeting the Malawian people, and living life on the Lords terms and not our own.

Recently I heard of a family here in the states who were fueding over who was going to take care of a relatives child and I couldn't help think about how important it is to let others live and not to attach one self to things God doesn't have for you to do. Wouldn't we all be happier if we just gave of ourselves without demands recognition. I'm learning how to let go of what I think is best for what God deams best.

Apon returning to ABC I will be finishing up the hospital and then starting the food services around campus starting with the hospital kitchen and moving to the College Student Center, International Academy and then to a snack shack for the general public.
My passion is for training Malawians to succeed in business so that their nation can grow.
Because of my work last year 5 adults and 8 children are being fed. Not as a hand out, but because the adults are willing to work.

When I return to Malawi I hope to find a permant place to live. Please be praying for me on this, as I would like to purchase a half built house or build one to live in, thus providing jobs for malawians. Most rentals belong to the Indians in the country so the money you pay goes to making them richer. I'd like to see Malawians gain, by working, saving and then building places of their own. Thankyou for your prayers.

PS I will be taking my mom back with me for a year. She will teach at the college and help me out. I'm sure we will be a lot less lonely.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Living in Africa and Loving it.

It has been over a month since I last entered anything but perhaps it's because life has taken some wonderful turns. I have been able to get out of Lilongwe into the country side three times now. Several weeks ago I went with the Malawian staff to northern Malawi, where we tested students for entry into African Bible College. It was an incredible trip. I was surprized at a beautiful pine forest. It was almost as though we took a drive into Washington states. The weather was cool and moist. We saw men cutting down trees the old fashioned way and making boards that same way. Back and forth they sawed it was a steady motion full of sweat and determination, only to make less than a dollor for a 20 to 30 foot plank. I often here the word lazy among those who are in the money, but I wander how hard they would work for a pitance that wouldn't even buy a small bag of salt. Would you saw the length of a tree to make 80 cents?

In the middle of seemingly no where we turned onto this mud road which took us to a farm where small pine trees are grown for planting. My friend Maggie's dad had done this work most of his life and we were going to meet his friend who had taken a goat for grazing purposes. I guess the friend needed his lawn mowed. Anyway we were bring a note to the friend to let him know that the lawn service was over and the goat needed for services else where.
I was impressed by all the little seedlings and the fresh cool water that ran down the side of the field for bucket irrigation.

We left that little haven about as fast as we had come and off we went to Muzuz. It was 5 hours from ABC to Muzuzu. I wanted to find out what Missionaries did that irritated and enlightened the Malawian staff, so I asked lots of questions, something I'm good at, but not always appreciated for. Anyway I learned alot. When we got to Muzuzu we found a lodge, in or hotel, what ever you want to call it. It was basic lodging, not 5 star, but I'd do it again. No large bugs or snakes, however the next morning I realized there were no screens on the windows. So glad I didn't sleep on the bed next to the window. The rats or snakes would have to crawl over someone else before they got to me. But of course I presented my case in a far more loving a caring manner, by saying I'm sure someone else would like the fresh air and I'm used to sleeping on the left side of the bed. That morning while the staff were testing I went with Maggies husband Gilbert to find Bee's wax. We knew honey came from that area, so I figured where honey is is where I"d find wax. What a stroke of genious. We called the honey people and they let us have all the wax we needed for a price of course. I stared off with just 7 kgs. Now to make candles and soap.

Next Gilbert and I went to the market, It had been years since I had been in a market so it was simply wonderful that is except for the smell of rotting fish, but then somehow those are the smells I always miss when shopping in the states. We bought lots of fun things like beans, cassava flour and green peppers. I realized how wise it was to shop in the market vs shopping in the stores. One can save money. However it takes a lot more time to dicker on a price. I'm beginning to see that it is more of a social activity than it is anything else. Sometimes you save a lot of money, but mostly you help the stall owner pass time and give him something to talk about when he or she gets home. At noon we picked up the staff and took them to the market and then by 2 we set off for home. However the goal was to stop at roadside venters along the way. We picked up bananas, plantains, potatoes of various kinds, honey, watermolon and onions. The car was loaded on top and inside. There was no room in the end. We arrived home by 8 pm and everyone was ready for a nice restful evening.

My friend Maggie has a business buying and selling Maise. Yesterday she did her first buying trip. I begged to go but she was afraid I'd hate it so she made me come late with her husband. Gilbert and l left at 9:30 to meet Maggie and the other couple who are in the company with them. It was only about an hour from ABC and most of it was on a dust road. Meaning it is red dirt/dust. I have Air Con. in the car, so we kept the windows closed. This was the first time taking my new used car on a "4 wheeling trip" . The car took the bumps like a dream and my heart was full of joy as we drove along the dusty African Roads. We came to a detour which was basically a dusty road next to another dusty road, they say the president will pave the one road right after the next elections. That means vote for him and you'll get a road, not and you may be eating dust for a very long time. I took several pictures for you which made my day. One must laugh when they see a "Reduce Speed" sign in the middle of the road.

When we found our buying team. There they sat on bags of maise, with a ski cap or scarf to cover their heads from the red dust. We sat on someguys front porch who had gone to the market and left Maggie and friends buying maise. The yard/ red dirt swept clean with a broom quickly got littered by peanut shells and the fiber of sugar cane we spit on it. I kept looking for a broom to sweep the mess up, and couldn't help but wonder how an american would react to some strangers pulling up next to his house, taking over his front yard and sitting on his front porch, spitting white fiber all over his grass. Don't think it would go over too well in the states , but the owner came home and if Maggie hadn't told me I wouldn't have known the man was even there. As we sat there I got some great shots of cow and donkey pulled carts. As I took the pictures I'd show the people and they were thrilled to see themselves in the camera.

We loaded up some 108 bags of 100lbs of maise on to a fat bed they hired and headed back, we stopped along the way to buy peanuts and some garden poles and to talk with a guy to ask him to help with the buying of the maise on Saturday. It was an incredible day, every moment was wonderful. Truely this is living in Africa. I cann't help but marvel at the simplicity of life and see an awsome God, I'm humbled as I see all that is accomplished with so little and realize how much our definition of life is attached to our way of living. Truely, I'm loving living in Malawi, Central Africa.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I finally did it!

Did what you say? Well, the other nite my friend Maggie one of the Malawian staff works asked me for dinner. She had prepared a traditional Malawian meal for the Spiritual Emphasis speaker and when Maggie's husband couldn't make it back in time for dinner, she asked me to come.

I arrived in good African time to the meal and before me was a bowl full of flying ants. After prayer I scooped 5 or 6 onto my place and then quickly put one after another in to my mouth. Sure enough they tasted like bacon.

Pastor Carlton said you must have eaten them all your life. To which I replyed no this is my first time. The guy next to me tryed to push his off onto my plate, but when I tasted them the second time they weren't quite as good so I told him he better keep his own Ants on his plate.

I also must report that I'm in Jo-Berg South Africa having something taken off my nose and and shopping for the children's ward we've been building. The shopping hasn't given me much time to worry about the results of the byopsy, hopefully this was just a wart. Next time they take something off my nose they'll have to knock me out. The pain killing shots were worse than the cut of the knife, which I felt before he gave me a second shot of novacain or what ever it was.

I'm hoping they will let me know early next week so if there is more work to be done it can be done quickly. The other scar is still there on the side of my head, but it is healing. God is good and I thank Him for his faithfulness to me.

Until later, Blessings

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


About a month ago I mentioned to my LandLord that my toilet seat was broken, the fact is, it was broken when I moved into the place, but not wanting to complain to much I waited for several months. After nearly falling off it, as it slid to the floor I decided that the timing was right. Apon mentioning it, my land lady went into a lecture about how Malawians don't know how to set the seat down properly and that's what breaks them. Since it had been broken from day one, I decided that wasn't the case with this one, but perhaps in the past someone has slammed her seat down and thus she wasn't happy about this one breaking.

My dear friend and landlady wanting to please me, went out and purchased a wooden seat which of course wasn't cheap and then she hired two (Plumbers ) to install the seat. It took several hours to install it and finally the men left. That evening as I pirched apon the thrown I felt it give way and then it pinched me. Fearfull of causeing further problems I said nothing to my land lady, and continued to use it doing my best to avoid the parting pinch. But last week the seat completely came apart, so I decided it was time to break the news to her ( the Land Lady that is).

Last night she came home from the store and asked if she could have a word with my helper Leah. She quickly brushed by me and started to rant and rave at Leah about toilet seats and a number of other things. I realized I had made a big mistake in allowing her to talk to Leah and
in mentioning the broken seat at all. Aparently she had taken the seat back to the store and the store manager accused her of lying. Her daughter slammed her fingers in the car door and all in all she just wasn't happy. She was sure that Leah had broken the toilet seat and that this was the root cause of all her problem at this time. I assured her that Leah was not there at the time it broke and that there was an explanation for why it was broken. After praying with her over the events of the day and telling her I loved her and Mega her daughter too. I finally convinced her to go on a walk with me around the neighborhood. On our walk we talked more about the toilet seat, and about the problem of our compound, but by the time we arrived home, she was reminding me that she was the one who told me about Leah and that she believed Leah was a good lady. It appears God is working in her heart.

Apon preparing for bed, I realized that my toilet seat problems were not over, I could not go to bed leaving the toilet without a seat of any kind on it, less I drop into it in a state of sleepiness and ruin an otherwise tranquil night. So I pulled the seat out of the box and put it back together again. It was then that I discovered the true criminals. it was the (plumbers) they had thrown out some parts and put others in the wrong place thus putting the seat at an awkward angle which made it break when I pirched apon it.

Now the dilema, should I tell my dear Landlady or let her think Leah was the guilty party. This morning I asked Leah what she thought I should do, and together we agreed that it was best to leave things as they are. I'll go get myself a new seat and not say another word. However the next time she offers a plumber I will try to fix the problem myself. After all it doesn't take but five minutes to put in a toilet seat. This is unless you are someone who as never used a toilet and doen't understand all these extra plastic parts /washers, then it takes two men and two hours to install it so it will break instantly apon pirching.

What I saw in all this was that certainly we do not battle against flesh and blood just the day before all this came about the Hindi preast had been at the Landlords home to offer prayers. They are clearly seeking peace and having a difficult time finding it. However this search is causing them to draw closer to me and ask for prayer on a regular basis. Thankyou for praying with me for them. Blessings, Michelle

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Life in Lilongwe

My Dear Friends, I'm so sorry to have taken so long to write something to you. I was waiting for a day when I didn't have something pressing but I've decided that day will not come anytime soon. I continue to work with the Whittier Area Community Church on the bulding of a new hospital ward. It has been fun communitcating with them on a daily basis as they strive to fill a container to fill our new ward with all of the equitment it will need.

I'm also decorating a baby ward which needs some TLC. As always things in Africa take time and somehow more effort than they would in the USA. As I have gone to sort though piles of rolls of fabric in a warehouse pulling roll by roll out , unwrapping the plastic to make sure you see what it really looks like and then sorting roll into piles of likes and dislikes. I walk away with my hands covered in black grime. Sneazing from the dust and thirsty from the heat. The process takes hours just to find the fabrics you want to use, let alone bringing them all together to make it look like it belongs.

I ask the store owner where I can find a drink and he says check around the corner, around the corner on a street that has more potholes than pavement is Annie's Bar and resturant. A dive with a few bottles of beer on the shelves, a fanta, sprite and coke. Take your pick, their all full of sugar and with the heat you'll be thirsty in minutes after you drink it. All I want is a bottle of water, warm or cold that doesn't much matter. I decide to drive home, opening the door I"m blasted by oven like heat. Don't want to open the windows to much for fear that someone will reach thier hand in and grab the fanny pack on my waist. I've been trying to wear a hat to protect my skin from the sun, but decide the hat holding in the heat on my head, will kill me now, where as skin cancer will at least do it slowly. I fight traffic all the way home trying to take side roads to dodge the traffic, I find myself in a dead end. Great, try again. I turn around and head back on the busy roads, three cars from the light, I wait and wait finally realizing the first car's driver has climbed out of his car and gone to Bata to buy shoes or something. So I pull out into the on coming traffic and around the two car s ahead of me so that I can get to the intersection where the main road is. I'm clear, home is just minutes away. I arrive there feeling a bit tired. Lying down on the Bony Couch( meaning the springs on the back are pushing up against the fabric like ribs on a starving child) I drink a large glass of water and then fall promptly asleep. This is a day in Africa. It's eazy to forget that there is a world out there other than your own and without a radio or TV you quickly become out of touch with that other world.

I have a lady who is helping me with keeping the house clean, cooking and laundry, i've been trying to help her and her husband get ahead, go to school and continue their personal developement. Its exciting to watch them as they stay up late at night and wake up early to prepare themselves for each days lessons. I wish I had more time to help Leah learn more about cooking. But little by little she is learning. Last week we made chicken pot pies. They turned out really tasty.

Last night I was over at the Land Lords home, had a wonderful dish from Bombay and then she shared all the things she was worried about. I asked her if we could pray together and so we did. I'm excited about what the Lord is doing in the home.

Finally, please pray that God will do a purifying work during spiritual emphasis week on the ABC Campus.
Blessings, Michelle

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Week to remember or should I forget it.

It's Friday and I'm glad it is finally here. We started the week with problems with the electricty on campus. Our clinic cannot run unless the power is totally up and running on all phases but we were without a phase. Therefore the X-ray man, Lewis was constantly at my door begging me to perform a miracle and get his power back up. Lewis is by far one of the most faithful workers I have in the clinic. He loves his work and is really good at it as well. He never misses a day of work and practically refuses to take a holiday. Anyway, because we were without power/x rays many patients came which we were unable to help.

One patient was a lady who was in a Semi truck brought her daughter who had broken her leg.
I was surprized to see her truck the first day when she pulled up. Never did I imagine that her driver would pull off the road, on to the grass and break through our septic system.

Yesterday afternoon the power problems were fixed but I had a new problem or challenge, it was this very large truck stuck in our septic system. We asked a truck who had delivered bricks to help us get the semi out of the hole and he did so. Now our only problem is the repair of the hole and the students from the college were in the hole today with masks and gloves to start the repairs.

The week had started with a sweet little girl who's father works for one of our doctors, coming in with a burnt leg. The poor little thing didn't even wimper when the doctor was looking at it. I was told that that was because it was third degree burns and the nerves are burnt off. It was horrible to see. We sent her to a specialist, I'll let you know when I find out what they were able to do for her. It's hard not to let some of these cases get to you.

Finally we have been searching all week for blood for a young man who has aid and will die if he doesn't get a transfusion. Even if people have the blood to give they are not always willing to give it and you cann't force anyone to give their blood. The blood bank keeps sending us the wrong blood which is also making me a bit wacky.

All in all, God is working in the lives of my staff. I'm encouraged by what I see in their attitudes, especially the attitudes of the cleaners. They came together on tuesday and helped me clean up the storeage room which was infested with Rats or at least things were covered with little black rat gifts. We had pizza for lunch and then drew names for the mattresses which the rats had made nests in. Somethings better than nothing I guess. Those who's names weren't drawn were really un happy and said I should make up for their losses. So, would you feel bad if you hadn't won a rat nest mattress? Sometimes the things we deal with are so un real it blows your mind.

Thursday I went home and decided to make a big pot of soup and feed all the neighbors, I think some people slept better that night. You cann't solve all the worlds problems but you can at least bless a few. Have a great week and enjoy all the pictures that follow this entry.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Twas The Day After Christmas

Twas the day after Christmas.
My neighbors the Indian Family
had taken me to Cape Town for Christmas.
The South Africans call the 26th Boxing day.
We went to Table Mountain and then headed
for the the Cape of Good Hope.

The Cape of Good Hope is a wild life reserve,
and because it was a holiday
there was bumper to bumper traffic with
two toll booths on the way in.
At each booth there were big signs
that read: It is prohibited to feed the
baboons, as they are very dangerous animals.
I didn't want to feel one, but wanted to get
close enough to take a good picture of one.

We walked up to the top of the Cape,
took lots of beautiful pictures and
tben waited to for our driver and
Mr Mittal as they walked down a long
plank walk way on the rocks which allowed
you to stand inbetween the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

As we waited sipping our tea, the sun began to set.
It was beautiful. And we knew we would have an
hour or more before it would be dark.
We walked slowly down to catch the bus
that would take us to the parking lot
reading aloud the signs which read:
Baboons are extremely dangerous it is against
the law to feed them as they are in their
natural habitat.

Once we arived at the parking lot, we stood
in a circle talking about the Cape and it's beauty.
At the corner of someones eye they spotted a
very large baboon and about the same time heard
someone yell, watch out for that baboon.

Our driver yelled at us and said head for the
car, he's coming toward us. Instantly we all
took off running. Mrs Mittel and Mega ran to
my side of the car and jumped in.
I ran toward the other side and jumped in as well.
But the Mittels are Short so their side of the car
didn't have as much leg room as mine had and
so I had to jam my legs in and slam the door
at the same timmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
The door swung back open and instantly the
baboon was on top of me. I could hear everyone
screaming, and my mind SHOUTED HIM THE NUTS AND
FOOD YOU HAVE IN YOU HAND. My heart had leaped up
and wrapped itself around my neck or something because
I wasn't feeling much of anything nor did I see the Baboon.
Most of what I know was what the others told me about
what had happened. They said he was pulling on my
hair and they were hitting him with water bottles and
whatever they could find to try to beet the Babboon off
of me. Once he was out of the car, people came
from all over the Parking lot to see the damages.

I look my body over and discovered blood running down my leg.
There was also a large piece of glass stuck in it.
So I pulled the glass out and then several men stepped
in and started to administer first aid. They called
the Reserve office and who sent down a first aid kit.
It was pretty clear that the leg needed a doctor or at
least it needed stitches. I'm thinking of carrying a
suture set with me so I can save money. If you can
upolster a chair you can stitch up a leg.

It was tough finding a doctor or any clinic opened on
Boxing day but there was a Muslim clinic opened so what
to do, but go and let them sew up my leg, hoping Osama's
brother isn't my doctor. Not that I know of any brothers
of his who work in South Africa.

The Doctor came in and announced he had the flew
and didn't want to be there but he would do what he had
to do. I wondered if he might have the bird flu, not really
but I wasn't thrilled about his honesty.

He put in three stitches but I forgot to take out the camera
until the last stitch, I hadn't gotten a picture of the baboon, so
why not the process of haveing stitches put in. I'm getting more
and more brave these days now that I'm working in a clinic.

The best part of the stiched up knee was that the Mittels made me
sit in the front seat for the rest of the trip, so I was able to get lots
of great pictures.

When I told some of the Clinic Staff about my baboon experience
they started laughing, saying : you were boxing with a Babboon on
Boxing day. Hope you had a great Christmas.

On our little trip, I bought three Francine Rivers books and got the
whole family reading. I'm praying that God will use those books to speak to them.
Blessings to you all.Michelle