To Lusaka, the capital of Zambia

Sunday, October 19, 2008
Lusaka, Zambia
Today is an unusual Travel Day between Festival sites. The distance from Malawi's capital Lilongwe (population one million) to Zambia's capital Lusaka (population two million) is 45 minutes by air. We've flown this route several times in the past. Not this time. When we absolutely HAD to book our tickets a few months this past summer this flight did not operate. We were told that Air Malawi had equipment problems and could not spare a plane for this route. Zambian Airlines no longer exists. So, we have to fly from Lilongwe to Johannesburg and turn around back up to Lusaka. That's like flying from Indianapolis to Detroit via New York. Arghh! But, that was the only choice this past summer. Now, we see that Air Malawi indeed does fly (they got their propeller plane fixed) and is also served by Kenyan Airways as well as Ethiopian Airways as they triangle their flights from their capitals to both Lilongwe and Lusaka.  
In the morning I like to get up early, make a cup of coffee and sit outside our little round hut and read the Bible. It's so peaceful and the view over Lake Malawi is wonderful. Monkeys abound. To tourists they are interesting, comical and cute. They are also nasty and annoying as they will find any way to steal food and tease the tourists. I left my coffee with cream for literally 30 seconds as I walked into our dwelling. In the meantime a monkey swooped down on the coffee and was lapping at the cream. I came out to a mess.  
On this segment of our journey we unloaded six laptop computers. Five brand-new Compaq's along my personal laptop as well. I also gave away my InFocus projector that I have owned for the past eight years and have used many times in making presentations around the country and the world. It went to Cephas Chapamba, one of our LifeNets students who is upgrading his credentials from Medical Assistant to Clinical step below a MD. He gives lectures about health and the projector will greatly help him with the effectiveness of his presentations. We left other things such as clothing behind as well. Our luggage is significantly lighter!
Today I'm going to proceed on this trip without a computer. This message is hand-written and being posted a week and a half afterwards after returning to the United States. We check out of the Lodge, have a final breakfast with the Lockwood's and their two daughters whom we have really become fond of on this trip. Gracious Mpilangwe and Eliphazi Salawila come by to say good-bye. For a brief moment I mislaid my camera bag, but Bev found it after a panicky search in the lawn! We will miss our dear friends. When we say farewell in these distant parts, we never know if it will be for the last time. The relationships we have developed here will last forever!  
Bev and I venture off in the ambulance at 8:15 am and drive on a terrific new road to Lilongwe. What a contrast to the dusty, bouncy and almost undrivable route that we took here! A significant stretch of the road to Lilongwe was opened only a few weeks was not even on the map. It was built by various EU nations who provided the financing. These countries are so poor and cannot provide even the most basic infrastructure-it has to be the Western nations that do that.
For the first two hours there was no filling station. We were getting concerned. Finally, in Salima we found one that had diesel for the ambulance. Bev and I really enjoyed the 200 mile drive back to the capital city and enjoyed the beautiful landscape of Malawi. 
Once arriving in Lilongwe we worked our way to the meeting point with Dr. Chilopora's daughter Margaret. There are few signs for the roads. People just "know" what road it is. When coming to the roundabouts one becomes easily confused as to which spoke to take and if you are still on the right road. But, we did successfully rendezvous with Margaret at the Crossroads Hotel. Our cell phone was and invaluable tool. With Margaret and her business associate we drove to Kumazu Airport.
On the flight down to Johannesburg I watched a History Channel presentation on my Media Player. It was about what scientists and educators are saying about the End of the World. The program was "Armageddon." 
Sitting next to us was a Malawian who was on his way to Japan for leadership training sponsored by the JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). He was virtually blind and had an operation for a detached retina. I really admire people who help give young people like this a chance in life.
We arrived in Lusaka. The day is getting very long. I knew we would have to buy a visa when entering the country. What I didn't know that it would cost Bev and me $135 each for a three year visa. As far as I was concerned, a total waste of $270....especially when we come here not to play, but to help.
We were met by Apren Mombe and Kambani Banda. We drove out to Kambani Banda's home about 15 minutes away and saw Jerrison Shachongo. A great reunion.
There were two young ladies at Kambani and Shirley Banda's home. One was Theresa Funsisi, Shirley Banda's cousin, and the other was another one of Developing Nations Scholarship Fund's students Zere Phiri. She is studying to be an economist at the University of Zambia and hopes to work at a bank. We have a total of four Zambian's on our scholarship program.  
The ladies fixed Bev and me dinner. We'll be staying at the house during the Feast. The site is about a 20 minute drive away.
Theresa moved here from Zimbabwe and hopes to study nursing.
At dinner we talked about how terrible conditions are in Zimbabwe with uncontrolled inflation, corruption and a total lack of care for the population.
Thus ended another day. New scenery, new people, new everything. We look forward to seeing the 300 people at the Festival site tomorrow.
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