I was just looking at the list that these emails go to but we hardly hear from very many of you. Just want to make sure that you still want to be included in our emails -- if you don't just let us know and we can take you off. We do have our blog that all the letters/pictures go to. thebullocksinmalawi.blogspot.com
Today Jim is off getting two of the vehicles registered and insured as that comes due at the end of the month. A member went with him that knows where to go and how to go about it so I stayed home and did up the financial records and sent them in to the area office. The money balanced so that is always a good thing. :)
Our gardener, Davie is still having marriage problems. As we were leaving on Sunday to go to Liwonde for church he was upset and wanted to talk but we didn't have much time. He had locked his wife (traditional marriage) out of their house because he said she was trying to collect his urine so that she could do magic on him. The gate guard was there and we ask him to tell the wife that absolutely no magic is allowed here. She seemed to get the point (she doesn't speak English). With that said, Davie and his wife headed off towards the house and we had to leave. When we got back we ask him how things were and he said that he had ask her to bring her relatives so that they could discuss things but they wouldn't come. He has sent the wife back to the village and told them that when they are ready to discuss then she can come back. So far she hasn't returned. He says she doesn't like him and is trying to kill him with magic. We rather hope that she doesn't come back. She was married before and has a child that is not Davie's. She has brothers and sisters and a mother back in the village and none of them have work so because she is married to someone who does have a job they all think that Davie should give them things and money. He only makes the equivalent of $60 a month as our gardener which is enough for his little family to eat etc. (only because he grows a good garden). Her family make a lot of demands on her but she won't stand up to them. Magic and witchcraft are very real to these people and it frightens them.
We stopped at Liwonde on our way back to Blantyre and the Zone leaders taught a discussion and we taught another. After that we went to the Hippo Lodge and arranged with them to use their swimming pool for baptisms on the 27th. While there we ordered a sandwich and some chips (fries) to take away with us. There was no salt on the chips so when we stopped back at the group leaders home to report -- I ask if we could borrow their salt shaker for a minute and take it out to the truck and sprinkle a little. Bro. Chisambo got the salt shaker but there was hardly any in it and said that was all they had. I said I didn't want to take the last of it (barely 1/2 teaspoon) but he insisted and dumped it into my palm. I pointed to a very small bag on their shelf and ask if that was salt but he said, no, it is sugar. (maybe 1/2 cup worth). I knew that they were struggling but didn't realize how bad it is. When I went back to the truck I gave the Elders 1000 kwacha (about $6.50) and ask them to go across to the market and buy the family some salt, sugar, oil and whatever else they could buy for that amount. They came back with all that plus a couple of other things -- in small amounts, of course. Elder Bullock was done by the time they came back and the Elders just slipped the bag of groceries into their house and we left. They do have some garden produce and maize.
We were talking to a counsellor in the District Presidency yesterday and he was going to Liwonde today to take them some things for the "Helping Hands" day next week. He will ask them how they are doing financially etc. and see if there is something that needs to be done. He was telling us that his wife buys a big bag of rice, divides it up into small bags, and sells it on the street by their house. He says everyone has to eat and so she manages to do okay. He smiled and said, "when my business doesn't do well I know that we will at least have food because of my wife's little business". That might be a good idea for Bro. Chisambo's wife. We did tell them at the Hippo Hotel that we knew someone who speaks good English and he needs a job. They said to have him come over with his CV (resume) so we will hope something will come of that. Life is hard here and we often wonder how people even manage to eat, let alone pay any kind of a bill.
Gotta get back to work. Just thought I would write about that as it has been on my mind. By the way, -- this family pays their meager tithes and fast offering and work hard keeping the group together out there. They are good, good people. It just makes us so much more aware of the money we spend and how we spend it. We could give up one restuarant meal and it would give them enough to eat for a couple of weeks or more. Sorry -- I don't mean to put everyone on a guilt trip. We see this all the time here and usually take it in stride but there are some days when we feel it more than others - especially when it is people that we have learned to love and wish we could make life easier for them.
Love, Mom/Nancy/Sister Bullock