Nkhwazi, Malawi: Church, FOT site, Clinic

Monday, April 22, 2019
Nkwazi, Central Region, Malawi
Today was not such an early start.  Nick and Megan came by at 9 am to pick us up for the day at our church farm and festival site at Nkhwazi out towards Michinji.
The countryside of Malawi is rather flat in this part of the country.  Yesterday, when we were in eastern Zambia, the terrain is very hilly and I would even say mountainous. 
The farm is only one hour away.  We first stopped in the settlement of Nkhwazi where Cephas and Patricia and family live.  They operate the Jumpha Clinic which is right across the road from their home. 
Patricia greeted us and told us that her husband Cephas, Haiton Thungula and Francis Ngpola were already at the farm. So, off to the farm, about 10-15 minutes away.  Most of those minutes are on rutted road where you must travel about 10-15 miles per hour. 
We come upon our 8.1 acre farm.  In the middle of nowhere, this is a place that has seen development from the Lilongwe congregation and has attracted local people from the village of Mzingo.  Clearly evident are the improvements on the road within the property that is lined with bricks.   You can see structures that were built for the Feast of Tabernacles last year. I was wondering about the “roughing it” aspect of the Feast, but I can see how this, with a church group out here for eight days of celebration, could be very enjoyable.  There is no electricity, but there is water from our LifeNets borehole which is powered by solar panels. There is a shower block as well. The toilets for now are pit toilets, but everything is spaced out nicely. 
Cephas showed us where people’s booths for the Feast were placed.  All was done in organized fashion with specific plots outlined.  
We were given the tour of the property and perimeter by Cephas and accompanied by Francis and Haiton. They first showed us where people set up their temporary booths.  And temporary is certainly what they were.  They were built of bamboo and grass, each costing about $20.  Tents were an option, but the problem with tents is that they get hot inside and they cost more. 
We first walked around the showers and toilets, and then around the solar powered pump and 2000-liter water tank. Then we took a stroll across the field where we saw ground nuts that were harvested.  We picked up what we call “peanuts” and ate some.  They were good!  These were the ones with red skins inside, and sure tasted better than the mushy, boiled ones we sometimes got with dinner.  These tasted great and you couldn’t eat just one. The property adjoins a tobacco field. It was particularly interesting to Bev who had never seen a tobacco plant. Then we saw sweet potato plants, Mphondafruit, horned melons (which were very interesting), and millet that had been brought in by Portuguese, and has mutated to the point of being a weed. 
Of special interest was the viny sweet potato with a very pretty flower. We also saw acacia/gricenia and grenedilla.
They were talking about irrigating more of this land, which really seems productive, but they will need another borehole. The one that we already have amazingly services the group of 70 or so that were there for the Feast of Tabernacles.
This area has high Portuguese influence.   The Mozambique border is only five miles away. The Portuguese colonized this area in the late 1890’s.  Actually in 1897, some event in the colonial history of Africa caused lands to be divided up among the superpowers of that time. Some went to Great Britain (Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasa land—now Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi), some to Germany (Tanzania, Namibia) and some to Portugal (Mozambique and Angola). A very interesting history that I’d like to study further, especially after being here so many times. 
Cephas’s children followed us around, notably Rachel. She has a sister, Dalless, and a brother, George.  We remember these children growing up after meeting the Chapamba family about 15 years ago.
It was hot and the sun was hitting us directly at midday. 
We went into an “assembly hall” where the fledgling Nkhwazi UCG congregation came together.  This included the Headman and his assistant. There is always a headman and they always seem to be around when foreigners like us are there.  By my count, there were 26 of us.  
Some sat in plastic chairs while others sat on the ground, mostly women. This included Megan who sat on the women’s side.
Nick Lamoureux has been coming out here for Bible Studies that are held either in this structure or back where Cephas lives at his Jumpha Clinic.
These people’s background comes out of tribal superstitions and fascination with spirits.  ButGod is calling some of them into His Truth. This was evident by some of the discussion that took place and seeing the fruits of the work of Cephas and Nick.  Most of these people walked in here from adjoining Mzingo village.
I spoke about the Vision, Mission and Work of the Church.  Usually, this is a helpful message that gives context to all we do physically in some of these areas.  I know that some of the people are here because we Westerners bring things with us that benefit them.
The structure we met in was made from bamboo, and tied together with stripped and sliced rubber from tires. It looked hot, but it was actually cool inside.  The structure seemed to “create” a draft that made it very pleasant to sit with all the people.   Once we stepped outside this structure, we were hit by the hot sun.
From here we went to Cephas and Patricia’s home. She prepared a tasty lunch for us, but there was no nsima!  Hmmm.  She had rice, chicken and chips (French fries) and it was good. We talked about church matters for some time and then headed back to Lilongwe on the M12.
It's one hour.  We came to the LifeNets Business Centre. Waiting there was Wizza and Emmanuel with his six year-old son John, who is very active. We waited for Juliana, Chimwemwe and Amina to come. We had invited them to dinner.  
This is the day after Easter and many places seemed to be closed, but we found a restaurant called Adlib.  It was fun and we had a most enjoyable evening with the young ladies.
This is our last evening together in Lilongwe.    
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2019-07-19