Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another day in Malawi

Our house (Malawi mission home)
View from our porch
Hi to our family and friends,

If you don't want to be on this list for my emails just let me know, otherwise you will get to hear all about our 'goings on'.  :)

We had another busy day.  We took the printer and our computer over to an IT shop and they are doing whatever needs to be done to make the printer scan to my computer.  We tried but were unsuccessful.  The internet downloads things rather slow here which creates it's difficulties.   
We received the conference dvd's and then sent some off to Lilongwe so that this weekend all of Africa should be having conference. 
One of our Elders who arrived here April 4th from Harare is still waiting for his luggage.  It seems that the plane was overloaded so the 44 passengers' luggage was sent on a different plane via Johannesburg.  Apparently it all arrived except for Elder Mudave's.  We finally got them convinced today that it really is still missing and they are doing a more indepth search for it.  Hopefully they find it soon - the poor guy is missing most of his clothes etc. etc.   If after 21 days it does not surface then they will pay $20/kilogram which would give him $600 to purchase some clothing.  It would be better to get the suitcase (at least in my opinion).  I ask if this was common for the passenger's luggage to not get on the plane with them and they assured us that it very rarely happens.
After going to Air Malawi we met the Zone leaders and Elder Phiri at a hospital where Elder Phiri had a check-up after the surgery last week to remove the screws from his ankle.  He will still be off his foot for another week so he has lots of time to study/read. 
I meant to tell you in my last letter that the first weekend we were here and went to Lilongwe - there were 16 baptisms between the two branches.  We were at Sacrament meeting at one branch and they confirmed 2 of the 9 people before sacrament and then after a couple of more showed up and they did those.  Testimony time started and then about half way through they announced that more had arrived and they stopped to confirm them and continued on with testimonies.  We had to smile!!!  It was all good though! 
I have been washing baptismal clothes and towels today so it seems that the missionaries here must have had several baptisms as well.  I did 3 loads of clothes and 1 load of towels.  We have a pretty good little washing machine but no dryer.  We have a line outside or a couple of racks inside if it is raining.   The rainy season is ending now although we did get a couple of good rain storms last week. 
There are two new houses that have been rented for the new branches here.  Pres. Chinyumba was here tonight with a list of things they need to get the toilets working and doors locked etc.  The members will go and clean up the grounds and make it look presentable.  It is in pretty rough shape.   He was also asking about desks and chairs for the branch president's office as the one branch is using a cardboard box at the moment.  There is a lot to do! 

This afternoon we went grocery shopping.  The prices, for the most part are pretty high.  We keep trying to figure out how much things cost compared to the US dollar.  1500 Kwatcha = $10.00.  The biggest bill they have is a 500.  Our groceries came to about 15,000 K so we have to count out 30 bills ($100).    We have to carry a pretty good wad of money.  The first day we exchanged some money and I took some with us and I thought I had lots but.....  I really didn't.   We will get used to using their money soon.  I can figure it out a bit quicker now.   The fresh fruit and vegetables are a good price but any canned goods are really high.  We couldn't find any skim milk so when we do find some we will buy a case (UHT milk in the carton -- it tastes pretty good.)  A pound of butter was about $8.00.  We found a place that has some nice looking bread and it is an ok price.   I guess if we decide we really want something bad we won't look at the price.  The meat didn't look too appetizing but we bought some hamburger and a chicken.   We are glad we brought several deodorants with us because it is about $12+ for one.  

I was feeling a little discouraged last night and went to bed early.  Things will come together for us as we learn.....   The people we are meeting have been wonderful and will do anything to help us. There are a few really choice ones that we already love!  
I just hope I don't miss paying a bill on time or whatever --- not that we actually get a bill here until a month late anyway, if at all --- but we still have to pay even when there is not a bill.  We just put some money on the account and then hope that it is enough.  I have to pay the water, electricity, phones, rents and ?? on all the missionary flats and our own, of course.  I just need to get my mind wrapped around it all.  I hope I don't sound like I am complaining - I just can't wait for the time when I feel like I am in control somewhat and really know what I am doing. 

I do want to slow down a bit and enjoy the beautiful country.  Everything is green and nice from the rains.  Winter is coming and it will cool down quite a bit.  Right now it is really quite perfect, weather wise.  Mosquitoes and other such things are not a problem right now.  I better close and quit rambling on. 

Love to all,  Elder & Sister Bullock

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