Thursday, July 3, 2014

While in Malawi we visited with one of our Branch Presidents and his family.  His wife cooked us a traditional meal of nshima and vegetables.  It was certainly a treat to be in their home.  He has a story of practicing self-reliance and coming back from having a successful business and losing it, then starting over again.  He wanted to begin again and sell cell phones.  They didn't have the money to buy the phones so they decided what they could do without to buy them.  They sold their refrigerator and their television.  They buy their clothes and shoes at the street markets where prices are cheaper and live very frugally.  There is no doubt this family will one day have their nice home and belongings because of their dedication and resourcefulness.

President Nyenyezi and Elder Bingham in front of his shop.  He sells music, videos, cell phones and accessories, ad is also an auto technician.  His wife sells popcorn and roasted ground nuts to the children coming home from school.  He is an inspiration to us.

These three little boys just hovered us as we were visiting with President Nyenyezi.  The were giggling and laughing.  They don't often see msungu (white men) in their neighborhood and they thought we were pretty funny.  Everywhere we go, the children want to shake our hands and touch us.  They are pretty cute!

We were in the town of Liwonde and we were right on the Shire River and watched as this man and his son were fishing from their dugout canoe.  The father had some weights in the bottom of the net and he would throw it out into the river and they would wait a few minutes then pull it in and take the fish out that they had caught.  They did this over and over.  We have never seen nice, fancy canoes.  Only dugouts and they work just fine.  We saw several canoes down this river with men fishing.  Crocodiles were also along the bank so they have to keep a watchful eye out for them.

Our friends told us of a neat park in Malawi that was fun to visit.  We hadn't been to any game parks yet and since it was Stanley's birthday and our 45th Wedding Anniversary, we decided to take a little side trip.  We booked a day and a night at the Liwonde National Park Camp, Mvuu Lodge.  When we got to Liwonde, we had to take a forty-five minute trip up the river in a boat to get to the camp.  We saw crocodiles and then we started seeing eyes poking out of the water.  We couldn't believe how many hippos were there.  They keep themselves pretty much submerged during the day as they sunburn.  They come out at night to feed on the grass.

We reserved a tent but it was the kind of tenting I really like.  The sides were fixed but had screening all around so we could see out but there were curtains for privacy.  Even had indoor plumbing.  I like this kind of camping!!

I think Stanley even liked this kind of tenting, especially since animals come out to roam between the tents during the night, like elephants, hippos, and wart hogs.  The night guards would see them come and bang on metal pans to scare them away from the camp.  Not a very restful night, though.  We were right by the river so the hippos would come out to eat.  They are like big, fat, noisy pigs!  They are extremely noisy.

This little guy was sunning on the rocks right outside our tent by the river but as we approached he quickly headed for the undergrowth.
Stanley just wanted my picture on the grounds of the camp near the river.
We saw lots of animals.  The impala are such beautful animals and their color is a very smooth brown.
This is a kudu.  Notice the curly horns!
Can't remember what this bird was but the tree was full of them at dusk.
We took a safari drive through the afternoon then when it got dark we stopped for snacks and proceeded to travel at dark.  One of the guides sat in the seat where I am sitting, and shone the spotlight for us to see some of the nightlife but I think they were either hiding or tired out because all we saw was a hare but it was a fun experience. 
In the morning, we got up at 5:30 a.m. and went on a nature walk.  We had two guides, an armed guard, and four of us.  Besides Stanley and I we had a mother and daughter from Ireland join us on our walk.  As you can see above there were three wart hogs who were happily dreaming.  They didn't move as we passed by them.  They really aren't very pretty animals and when it comes to pictures, they are quite camera shy.
During our walk in the early morning hours, we met up with these two guys who really weren't very friendly.  They were trying to decide who was boss and the younger one was getting beaten.  Our guide told us that it is quite rare to see them fighting with people around but they were totally oblivious to us.

We saw lots of elephants.  During our safari rides, we only saw about four but on the boat trip back out of the park, we saw about 30 more down where the grass was green and lush.  There were quite a few babies and that was fun to see also.  They are magnificent creatures.

We saw these baboons sitting and feeding the baby some meat that they had killed.  Baboons are kind of nasty little creatures and we don't get too close to them but they are funny to watch.  We would also see them chasing the monkeys up the tree.

These are water buck and they have a white ring around their backside.  The guides told us they call it the "toilet seat".  It's purpose is for them to see each other when they are walking in single file at night. 
I was surprised at how cool the weather was while in this park.  It was very cloudy and the wind was blowing quite hard.  I had a jacket and a sweater on but was still cold.  The ride back to Liwonde on the boat was very cold and rough because of the wind.  When we got to the dock, an artisan was there to show us some of his wares, hoping we would buy.  Of course, we couldn't pass up some treasures.  I bought a nativity set, Noah's ark complete with animals, and a nice statue of an elephant.  The wood in the nativity set and the elephant was mahogany and very pretty.
 We passed this truck loaded with cotton and the workers had to stop and reposition the load as it was falling off.  We see trucks loaded so heavy and cock-eyed that we can hardly believe our eyes.  I don't think I have hardly seen a truck in either country that could pass the U.S. DOT regulations on about anything.  We see bald tires, no signals, no lights, wires from supposed lights or brakes just hanging down, etc. etc. etc.  We also see many trucks wrecked or trailers overturned.  We saw one truck that had turned over and the driver and his helpers just set up camp in the shade of the overturned truck and had their little charcoal cooker out cooking their meal.  They have to stay with the truck until someone comes with another truck and that can take days!

 These scenes are from a town right on the "highway".  We had to just creep through the town as the people were so thick selling, buying, or just on the road that we could hardly get through.  If anyone slows down very much, there are a dozen vendors at our windows selling all kinds of things, mostly fruits and vegetables, or chickens.  We just have to keep moving but it is very slow and very dangerous.  A bus was stopped right in the road and the vendors were selling through the windows and we had to dodge all of them too.

 Back home in Lusaka, we celebrated Stanley's 67th birthday.  His request was a coconut cream pie.  I didn't have birthday candles so we improvised with a emergency candle.  He didn't care about the candle but only wanted the pie!