- Praise the Lord, we finished the AIDS Orphans Rescue Unit outside of Rumphi, Malawi! Saturday, July 30, was our last day of work on the unit- from putting on the tin roof, to painting and moving furntiure inside. All of the team did a wonderful job working hard to make sure the unit was finished in time, despite delays in the beginning due to lack of cement and supplies in local villages. We were also able to spend some time evangelising with the orphans once the days work was complete. From teaching phonics classes to singing songs and helping them translate words to English, as they helped us learn Tumbuka- I know we all enjoyed spending quality time with such precious kids! Since we finished the rescue unit Saturday, after 3 days of awesome safari’s, we traveled back on Wednesday, August 3, to the base in Chipoka. We woke up early this morning and began our work here as the boot camp comes to an end tonight. The team spent most of the day taking down the O.C. They also worked in the gardens and on leaking problems on top of the roof, as well as chopping down a big tree trunk that needed to be removed.The weather this past week has been mostly sunny during the day (mid to late 70s) and cool at night. It was extremely windy for several days at the work site and Sunday morning was extremely dark and cloudy. As we traveled to our Safaris, it got colder and rainy along the way. Our ride back to Chipoka was cold, then rainy, then sunny; quite a few adjustments in weather patterns as we traveled south.It is unfortunate we could not get a second report into you this week seeing as how we had so many travel days because this week was the most adventurous and activity filled yet! After the sigh of relief upon completing the Rescue Unit Saturday night, the team was up and ready to enjoy their afternoon Safari on Sunday. We went through marshes and saw a ton of hippos, various deer and small mammals but the best was the elephants we first came upon. As most of them huddled around what looked like an injured elephant, one of the bigger ones decided to intimidate us via a “stare contest” aimed at our truck. Needless to say, the elephant won, but the team loved it! After the safari, we rode through Bolero and stopped to pick up some of the food for the week at the market which was fun to walk through. The following day, we got up early and drove 5 hours to Nikya National Park. On the way we stopped to take pictures in Zambia (we had to cross a portion of it to get to the park). Once we arrived and got settled in to our AMAZING chalets, we were able to eat a wonderful lunch, prepared by the staff with the food we provided (better known as our clucking friends that rode underneath the truck with us to their dismay). The chicken, bread and greens were delicious but we still had our night safari to look forward to! We hopped in the vans with the largest sunroof I have ever seen! Anytime we wouls see an animal, we would stop and stand up, out through the sun roof. Among the animals were Eland and other antelopes and bucks, Zebras, and a lot of hares and native birds. We drove to a mountaneous part and stopped to watch the sunset and enjoy biscuits and hot tea or coffee. It was defintiely a highlight of the day! After the safari, we enjoyed an optional mountain biking trip the following morning. It was like another safari trip for us with all of the animals we saw along the way! We then packed up and checked out because we had a long two days ahead of us. We woke up early Wednesday morning, finished loading up the truck and headed south for Chipoka. On the way, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant. I pictured it being a fun little stop, not a GORGEOUS place deemed honeymoon worthy! The beach, the meals right out by the water, the pottery shop and of course the little tiki huts parallel to the shoreline, made this place a most memorable stop! Lake Malawi is hard to describe in words- so you will have to check out all of our pictures or just come see for yourself! So, I guess you could say we had quite the adventure-packed week! I am sure the team, myself included, will never forget all of the Lord’s beautiful creations we were blessed to witness first-hand.
We began taking down the O.C., among other things, today and will hopefully finish taking down the rest of boot camp tomorrow, since comissioning is tonight. On Saturday, we plan on traveling to Senga Bay so the team can go souvenir shopping. Monday we will start back up with any work that Matt or Heni need completed around the base and then Tuesday, sadly, we will be traveling home (I can not write too much here or I may tear up!)
Malawi Tumbuka Team Testimony, August 4, 2011 by: Madison Wilson
After much hard work, patience and prayer, the rescue unit “House of Patience” was finished on Saturday, July 30th. The roof was put on by male leaders Josiah and Isaac, with our host, Gift, and the help of myself, Sarah and Brenna so they were balanced. While Michael and Megan kept the fire going for lunch and dinner, other team members, including Faith, Abi, Melanie, Isaiah, Charissa, David, Seth, and Joey painted the outside of the unit, . Girls painted the bottom while the guys stood on barrels to reach the top. The next morning the team headed out on a 2 hour drive for our first marsh safari. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by some baboons and soon ran into a herd of elephants crossing the road. One of the larger elephants continued to block our way and as progressed towards it, he began to charge us! We decided it would be best to turn back for a bit and eat a classic TMI pb&j sandwich for lunch. Pursuing a different route, we went along the lake that was full of hippos and came close to two playfully swimming around. After a few more minutes of driving, we nearly ran into a feeding elephant. We re-routed again and finished the safari off with a variety of antelope and team pictures on a long, gnarly tree. On the trip back to our campsite we stopped by the market in Bolero for refreshments, where many team members got their first taste of goat and African potato wedges, along with an assortment of much missed snacks and drinks. The Monday morning wake-up call seemed to come before I was even asleep but there was ample time to rest o the 5 hour drive to Nyika National Park. We got there and were pleasantly surprised by quaint little chalet’s along the mountains with roaring fireplaces and a few beautiful items that had all but become foreign to me: hot, running water and beds. After unpacking, we had our field banquet. We feasted on warm buns, sweet potatoes, spicy greens, rice and fresh chicken. We transported live chickens from Bolero and taken the liberties of naming them Larry, Curly and Moe. Everyone took the opportunity to enjoy baths before our safari began. We all came out a little less “tan” with really dirty bath water! Fresh and primped, the team separated into 3 trucks. I was with Melanie, Charissa, Justin and Shannon. We spotted zebras and a great variety of antelopes. After about an hour and a half the trucks met together by a beautiful mountain of rocks, where we took pictures and nibbled on cookies, coffee and tea while the sunset, before starting back into our night safari where we saw more antelope, jackals, and owls. There was more delicious food upon our return and good stories to share later in the lounge that evening. When we returned to our chalets, Brenna, Melanie and I sat around the fire reading, while our team leader, Sarah, was showering. We were blissfully unaware that power would cut off automatically at 9pm and there would be no light besides the fire. When all was dark, there was a mad dash to find flashlights to aid our beloved team leader who was stranded in the bath. The next morning, we heard many similar stories had taken place. Everyone had the option of sleeping until 8am, but after adjusting to 5:30 mornings, many were up by 6:30, including my chalet. You could rent bikes for $5/hour to ride around on a mini” safari. Sarah, Charissa, Melanie, Megan, and I all decided to give that a try before breakfast. After a bumpy start and trial and error with biking in skirts, we began coasting along, with frequent picture stops for several deer, the largest antelope in the WORLD, and two Eland’s meeting in the road. There were also many beautiful, picture-worthy, landscape shots. With our late arrival, there was a mouth watering breakfast of french toast and bacon waiting for us. After all the enjoyment, we quickly packed and said goodbye to our chalet attendant, Moses, and drove off- many wishing to stay another night. When we got back to the rescue unit, we began to pack up the site, ate dinner and called it a night early. The wake-up call sounded at 4am. The remaining pack-up and tent teardown were a blur and we were on the road again, headed for Chipoka. The first few hours were rough and cramped with more luggage and 5 more people than the journey in but it was worth it when we stopped for at Khotakota Lodge and Pottery Shop. It is right along a “beach” of Lake Malawi. It was strange seeing other “Azungas” (English people), but I am sure we were a stranger site in our travel polos, jeans, skirts, and boots! The food was fantastic and the flushing toilets were almost up to par. The second half of the ride went by a lot faster and we arrived at the Chipoka base in the dark, around 6pm. Our new accommodations were already occupied by geckos, spiders, and bugs but we unloaded the truck, ate dinner and spent the night anyways. (Shout out to Sydney, my sister! Happy 13th birthday love!)
With Thursday morning came a lot of work to be done around the base, starting with digging out 2 feet of soil in the roof-top garden to find and fix a leak. After breakfast, me, Brenna, Melanie and Michael watered the gardens while Charissa, Joey and Faith took apart the O.C. David, Abi and Isaiah cleaned tents and Seth and Megan unloaded and organized our new kitchen. Tonight we will be helping with Malawi’s commissioning night by singing some songs in their rally and participating in the candle-lighting ceremony. And that concludes of our very adventurous, travel-filled, busy week!