We drove back from Lilongwe today, after meeting a returning Sister missionary at the airport last night at 11 p.m. There were family there to meet her and take her home after President Bullock released her.
Today on our drive back we got stopped by the police who had a laser gun. They caught us speeding. It really is crazy here though and we try and watch VERY carefully for the speed signs OR the posts where a speed sign used to be!! It doesn't seem to matter even if the sign is missing. Somehow we are just suppose to know. We thought we were out of the speed zone but.... When stopped the driver, Jim, has to get out and go over under a tree usually, where another policeman writes up the receipt and takes our money. The fine is usually 5000 kwacha (about $30) no matter how fast you are going.
About five minutes later we were in another speed zone and had just sped up and got pulled over again. We weren't quite out of the zone again. Jim was not happy, as you can imagine!! He showed the policeman the ticket receipt we had just paid and apologized, saying we thought we were out of the zone. After a bit the policeman kind of waved the receipt at the guy under the tree and that guy smiled and waved us on. Whew!! It is hard to get out of a ticket here.
The speed on all highways here is 120 unless otherwise posted. As you enter a town or village along the way there will be a round sign with a "50" on it. However, as I said, sometimes the sign is totally gone and sometimes only the post is there. If we see a sign with the name of the town we always slow down. When the 50 zone ends there is another round sign with the "50"on it but it has a diagonal line through it. Sometimes there is a sign and sometimes not, so you kind of guess whether or not to speed up again. It is really frustrating and believe me, we try really hard to watch constantly and hope we are obeying the law but those police seem to know just where to 'get you'. So to all you who have seen Jim in the past years hiding behind the sign on the 16 Ave hill with his lazer gun and enjoying writing all thos tickets -- these guys in Malawi are getting back at him for you!!!
We are really tired tonight. We detoured over to Liwonde on our way home to meet with the Group leader for a few minutes. There is a need for some welfare help there as crops are late maturing and people's maize from last year's crop is finished. It is so hard when we get a call saying, " Sister Bullock, "I'm hungry" or as a couple of young boys said to us last Saturday - "Can you bring us something because we go to bed without food". They are hungry! We have referred it to the Group Leader who is talking with the Branch President and they will give some aid through the proper channels (the fast offering fund). It is really hard sometimes. I could just sit and cry for them. We also met with Peter again at a town halfway between here and Lilongwe - we met him 2 or 3 weeks ago when we were meeting up with Pretes there. He was pleading with us to pay his fees so he could go back to the Poly-tech school here in Blantrye. They get so desperate and really there isn't much work for them so that they can earn money. He's 21 yrs. old.
Anyway --- we did have a good visit with Pretes. We are looking forward to our zone conferences over the next few days (ours is on the 21st). Shortly after that some missionaries go home and there will be a bunch of transfers so everyone is wondering where they will be next.
The works goes on..............
Love, Elder/Sister Bullock