Hi, Yesterday we headed out early to get to Immigration again before the rush and line-ups. They know us there now and they are very helpful and of course it helps that we know what we are to do also, although we still have to ask questions sometimes. We had received 4 TEP approvals in the mail so we took them in and pay 30,000 Kwacha ($200) each and then we put the receipt into the passport until we receive the certificate in the mail. The certificate can take several weeks but once it arrives (if the missionary is still here) we take in the passport and they stamp it. We did have one certificate come and got the passport stamped. One of the TEPs that got approved was Jim's (as his spouse, I don't have to apply and they will stamp both passports when the certificate comes.)
Today we went to buy a map for the new Zambia Assistants to the new President. We did find and buy a map of Blantyre (not new) but the only one they have for Lilongwe was printed in 1976 and there is nothing newer available in the country. We ask for a receipt (big mistake)! They went to the back and filled out 3 papers and then we had to fill in our name etc. etc. -- that was not the end, however. One of the guys then had to take it to the bank and deposit our money and then would come back with the receipt. We waited, and waited, and waited and finally said that we had to go. We were told that the que (line-up) at the bank could be quite long and that we could come back in the afternoon and pick up the receipt. We just made up our own receipt which will work fine for what we need.
It is true that the lines at the bank can be REALLY long - that is why we always go early, as soon as the bank opens, and because I have the forms filled out ahead of time we are usually always first in line (the others don't seem to think about filling out the forms before they get there).
The new Assistants are in town for a couple of days to meet with the District presidency and are trying to get information gathered so that when Pres. Padovich arrives things will be all ready and organized to make the start-up of the new mission go as smoothly as possible.
We have a fellow named Moses, who is doing some gardening at one the the chapels. He has been living behind the Sister's flat in what is referred to as 'the boys quarters'. He was allowed to live there for free while he got himself established (2 yrs). He came from the "Bush" and had a lot to learn apparently. Anyway - he got married about December, I think, and he was told he needed to find a different place but he kept putting it off. Why not, when it is free!!!
Anyway, we told him that he needed to go and he did find a place and called us last night to see if he could put his things in our truck so we could take them to his new place. It only took one load as they don't have a lot. His wife comes from better circumstances than Moses and I sure hope she is okay with the new place - she hadn't seen it yet. We barely got in there with our truck as the road/track was pretty bad. It is in a 'high-density' area and it was not nice. Lots of people do live like that but I felt bad for her and hope she is going to be okay. I was just so relieved to get out of the area and felt so bad for the poverty that is there. It was hard to not start crying but I did manage. We saw that a lot in Zimbabwe too but I guess we just really haven't been into one of those areas here yet. I would much rather live out in the rurals where there is space and a place to grow a garden etc. and it feels safer in the rural areas. With that said though, the many children are smiling and happy! I doubt many of them go to school though due to the poverty there.
Time to fix some supper. We found some chicken breast yesterday so we will try it out with some veggies we bought from a street vendor. It must be the season because suddenly we are seeing them with broccoli, cauliflower, beans and zucchini. They were nice and fresh too. We even got a nice lettuce at the store. We will enjoy it while we can.
Love to all, Elder/Sister Bullock