First Impressions 3/52

Friday, January 06, 2017
Lilongwe, Malawi
The first few glimpses of our new home leave me a little breathless. Partly from how beautiful it is, but partly because it's so much smaller, and so much more primitive than I had imagined. I am flying over Malawi for the first time. Everywhere you look it is green. Green mountains,
green fields, and green trees, crisscrossed with reddish brown of dirt roads .

Everywhere you look there are dirt roads. From above you can see the landscape dotted with the shimmer of tin rooves; several rivers lazily snake this way and that, but more than anything, it is green. This is our view coming into and out of the Blantyre airport (what looks to be several outbuildings, and just one or two planes waiting at the terminal). Blantyre is one of the largest cities in the country, but I find no evidence of a city, just dirt roads leading to more
dirt roads. I’m told that Blantyre is a beautiful city filled with trees. I look forward to seeing it sometime during our year here, but for now, these are my impressions of it.

Landing in Lilongwe I was ball of nerves. Coming to a new place is very exciting, but also very scary. We had no idea what to expect and my hopes for small city with some conveniences were diminishing quickly.

I judged too soon, and a bit too harshly . Sometimes nerves will do that to you. It’s never fair to judge a place with so little information.

Lilongwe is much smaller than I had hoped, but there are several good grocery stores. I can definitely get most things I’m looking for (though I’m currently lamenting the lack of chocolate chips!); though not all.

Our apartment is very comfortable and lovely.

Coming through town we turn down a tree-lined road (no sidewalks) with a stone fence painted brightly with international flags… this is our road. Our little apartment compound is just down the street from an international school. You pull up to a reddish gate in the middle of a 10 foot brick fence (lined with electric barbed-wire). You beep your horn and the security guard will open the gate to let you in; inside the gate stands four small duplexes. The driveway into and around the compound is dirt, but there are nice tiled, covered porches in front of each unit; and interspersed around the units and along the fence are grassy areas with small trees and shrubs planted . The complex is new so the trees are young, and the landscaping is still being worked on.

We’ve hired a driver a couple of days to get around, like hiring a cab elsewhere, but less regulated. He took us to several grocery stores, and was very patient with backtracking, and going between different places.

Joseph Mughogho works for the LifeNet’s internet café and shop, is very reliable, and has been a great help to us in getting settled. He arranged our apartment, furniture, and dishes. Since we arrived he has driven us to get minutes for our cell phones, to stores to get missing items for our apartment, and got our wifi and electricity set up.

We’re headed into the Sabbath, and we look forward meeting all of our brethren.

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Hey, so far it looks wonderful.


Thanks for writing Lena. I am now just reading all your blogs. We were busy with Winter Camp. I know blogging takes a lot of time (I speak from experience), but it is so worth it to all of us that are over here. We will learn so much about life there through your eyes. The brethren will become real live brothers and sisters to us. Keep up the good work, and you are in our prayers. Keep smiling! It makes every scary situation more bearable.