On Sunday we drove to Mzuzu to visit the Kachali family and other members in the area. The Kachalis fed us a delicious lunch after our six hour trek. Then Lewis held a Bible study before we made the long journey home.
I have to explain about the roads in Malawi (and I'll do so through two incidents that occurred this week)
There are two types of "tarmac" or paved roads in Malawi. There are those in the cities that are riddled with potholes or maybe more pothole than tarmac; and then there are the "highways" that run between the cities. These roads generally don't have too many potholes, but they are relatively narrow for a highway (two lanes) and the edges are eroded, so there is zero shoulder. This wouldn't be so bad, except you share the road with a number of motorbikes (usually a cross between a moped and a dirt bike); tuktuks (three wheeled motorbikes with a cover); bicycle taxis that seem to believe they have more rights to the road than cars; the occasional oxcart or herd of cows or goats; and finally all of the pedestrians
Like all places, vehicles breakdown on the "side" of the "highway" (remember how I said there was zero shoulder on these roads). To let oncoming traffic know that there is a broken down vehicle ahead, the very conscientious will place bush/tree branches on the road leading to the vehicle. The non-conscientious do nothing. In Malawi, it must be noted, the "highways" are not lit by anything other than the stars and your headlights. As you can imagine, between dodging stalled cars, pedestrians, and bikes, driving on these roads (especially at night) can be quite hazardous.
Now that you understand a little about the roads I'll get to the incidents that took place this week. On our drive home from Mzuzu we happened upon a vehicle in the middle of the road, crunched in several places, and the airbags deployed. We quickly saw several folks sitting in the ditch by the road. A gentleman (the driver) came over to us and we asked if we could drive them back to Mzuzu (about 30 kilometers); he said yes
It didn't seem safe to just leave the busted car in the middle of the road, so us, and a few passengers from another stopped vehicle, worked together to literally pick up and inch the car towards the edge of the road so at least one lane was clear. It turns out a tire had blown and the man had lost control, over-corrected and ended up flying off the road into an embankment and then bounced back onto the road. The lady's door had flown open and she was thrown from the car. I don't know what happened with her, but I pray she is mending and her baby is safe in her womb.
The second incident happened Friday evening. We had dinner with two young men from Nkhotakota (they're not members of our church, but they're interested in becoming) and our friend Juliana. After dinner we dropped the young men off at their guest house, and then we drove Juliana home. On our way back from Juliana's we took our typical route home, nothing out of the ordinary. The road was dark (per usual), but there was a police truck taking the same road and there were pedestrians aplenty
We said okay, and they all jumped back in the bed of the truck. Then another officer came from the cab and said, never mind, you don't have to come with us, just take this as a warning. They quickly took off and we were shortly behind them. The next road up we were cut off by a minibus, but we were still traveling in the same direction as the police truck when we came to a roundabout (this is all taking place within 4-5 blocks)
And that, my friends, are the roads in Malawi.
The rest of the week was spent working and going to visit members.
These roads though (14 of 52)
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Mzuzu, Northern Region, Malawi