I guess we should give up on trying to call -- I could hear your voice good but you can't hear me.
We are glad to be back home from Zambia -- even if it did take us forever and numerous flight delays. The Airlines here aren't very efficient and seem to be getting worse and worse. When the plane finally came in to Lilongwe last night the people aboard were not happy. They were hours late on their flight too. They were suppose to fly from Jo'berg to Blantyre -- but instead went to Harare, Lilongwe and then Blantyre. They had to all get off at Lilongwe and check their luggage through customs and then go back through the scans and back on the plane. While we waiting for several hours both nights the airport was cold and we weren't dressed for cold. It is good that we did wait it out last night and get home finally because today all flights are cancelled for a few days due to some pilot strike or something - not exactly sure exactly what.
When we spent the night in Lilongwe and our flight was delayed the second day it did give us a chance to visit one of the Br. Presidents and Jim talked to him a long time (the one who had been accused of witchcraft etc., which he NEVER did). There will have to be some changes made in the branch but he will remain the president. Jim was made a counselor in the mission presidency so he can deal with such things better now.
While Jim was talking to him I was talking to the gardener who is doing 'nothing' and the yard does not look nice at all. I told him (with an interpreter) what we expect it to look like. He wanted fertilizer for the grass but I said when the rest of it gets cleaned up we will consider getting fertilizer. For fertilizer they use dirt and spread it lightly on the grass and it really does make things green up. Others also use tobacco stems but apparently that stinks. I said if he got it looking good we would buy some flowers for the yard and that seemed to make him perk up. If it wasn't far away I would have our gardener here go spend a couple of days with him and show him how to make things look good.
We did arrive at the church at a good time because there was a plumber there who had been cleaning out the sewer line from the toilet in the 'boy's quarters' (domestic help quarters). The guards and the gardener use that toilet and since they have no toilet paper they use plastic bags or whatever and that plugs up the system. (We have seen this before at another place). We had the plumber explain to them that they cannot do that and must use toilet tissue. We aren't sure who should supply the tissue because if we do they will likely just take it home and we don't have an endless supply BUT if we don't then they use other things. Hmmmm...
We are going to paint and clean and furnish the boy's quarters so that we can have a set of missionaries live there. It is pretty new but needs some sprucing up. There is no hot water tank (geiser) there and no hot water taps in the kitchen of bathroom sink/shower so we ask the plumber to give us a price on installing those things. If we put Elders in there then the guards, etc. cannot use the toilet etc. and we do have to provide that for them.
There is a shed (under the water tank) and we ask the plumber to price putting a toilet in there for the 'help'. It should work well as the water is right there and he can dig a trench and attach to the sewer line.
When we arrived there were also 3 or 4 young men (19 - 21) doing their laundry in the cement laundry basin. I think they had also had a shower and quickly got dressed when we arrived. They won't be able to get in to do that when the Elders move in as we will lock everything up.
We hope to go back up in the next week or two and spend 2 or 3 or 4 days. We also need to look at another flat that we could possibly rent for a 'couple' that we want to put in Lilongwe -- NOT that a couple have been called yet but we are hoping!!!! If it is an okay place and we rent it for Sept. when it is available we could set it up and we could use it when we go to Lilongwe instead of staying in an expensive hotel. We would feel better about staying up there a bit longer to get things done. We will see what the President says but suspect he will agree with us.
A funny thing I meant to write last week and don't think I did. Gabriel was here one day and Jim walked by with a broom to sweep up something and Gabriel gave a surprised look. Then later Jim started folding up baptism clothes and towels that I had washed. Gabriel just stared with the funniest look on his face and said, "Wow!!!" He was surprised to see a man doing such things. We talked about it and he told us that the men and women here just 'inherit' the things that are expected from each sex. He did say that the church has women thinking that their husbands should help more and respect them more and he is ok with that. He is just recently married. He says he can't do too much, especially in public or others will think that there is 'petticoat gov't." at his house. :) He is really a cute guy!
I better get this sent before we lose power. It is Monday night and we could lose it at any time.
Write to us!!!!!!!
Love, mom/dad, Elder & Sister Bullock, Nancy/Jim