Saturday – I’m thinking about all the folk back home who are Christmas shopping this weekend. My morning was spent shopping in the craft markets of Nkhata Bay – looking to buy about 500 wood animals, soapstone dishes and other stuff which we can take to the many Church and other meetings we do presentations at back home. The audiences at these meetings love a wee craft stall and their donations for crafts enable me to give good business to the stallholders out here. Most of their customers buy 5 or 6 items so when I arrive faces light up and I get shown round the 20 stalls, doing my best to buy from everyone.
Nhkata Bay is on Lake Malawi and there are beautiful beaches: a great incentive to run a disciplined meeting so there’s time for a swim before heading back. That all happened but there are frustrations – regular power cuts disrupted our computer access and if you want internet you stand on a chair in the corner of the restaurant holding your phone above your head.
The “big” meeting with our new funder has now been changed from Friday to Thursday and the Scottish Government meeting in Lilongwe on Tuesday has been cancelled.
This is Malawi.
Travel and accommodation for the four people in our team has now changed twice but this is normal here.
Sunday – not exactly a day of rest planned but we did start with Church. A friend invited us to his rural village church which seemed a nice idea – the only problem being that we didn’t realise that we were to be the guests of honour! As well as expecting us to speak to the church, we were also expected to go to the Village Chief’s house for lunch. We were already running late (the 9am service actually started at 10.30am) and now we were cornered by the three Village Chiefs who didn’t want us to leave until we promised to help with their nursery school or deep well & pump. It’s lovely to meet new people; it’s great to have the cultural experience of church with traditional African drums and dancing; but I hate the way the very presence of a Mazungo (white person) raises expectations which you can’t possibly meet.
Now off to bed ready for a 5.30am start and the six hour drive to Lilongwe….