Life is a series of choices. Today I made the right one as I said I would take the classroom for Bro. John while he went and bought cement for the compound in Nsanje which is three hours south of us, a long three hours sort of like Dwayne Eddy wrote music about (40 mile of bad road). John and I started the process yesterday by stopping by the cement factory where we were told we could not buy there as they did not accept money (cash) because large sums were too difficult to keep on site. We’re talking cement not gold dust.
John was told to go to a certain bank and make a deposit in their account and on the next day come back and pick up the 30 bags of cement after showing a deposit slip, sounds easy. This is something that you have to experience as a missionary in a 4th world country to understand “what do you do with all your time when not preaching or teaching?” This is what your missionary is doing.
John left the house a little past half nine after teaching his eight o’clock class. Went to the bank and arrived in close proximity to 1000 and was in line behind Asian business men who were making large deposits of Kwacha over 6 million for one guy and 8 million for the other, all in small bills. Only one teller and a looooong line. After better than an hour in line he was told he was not in the system and could not buy cement, he had already made the deposit but no receipt for cement. He was able to apply it to another missionaries account? and get a receipt.
Again back at the factory in his little 3 ton lorry John is told to see the traffic director for placement in the line of BIG trucks. Well the TD was going to lunch and did not have time to take care of such a small load. John used his time wisely and took care of some personal business had lunch and went back to the factory, still no TD so he was told to park his truck in a certain place but because he did not have appropriate paperwork he could not enter so it was a standoff, he would smile and they would smile back.
When the TD returned from lunch John was told he would need to have the truck inspected for safety on the road and safety in the compound where he was to pick up the cement. After the inspection he was directed to the compound to pick up the 30 bags, at the gate he was stopped as informed he would not be allowed in as he did not have a hard hat, safety vest or safety shoes and a mask to cover his mouth and nose. He explained he was not a worker but a customer, no dice. What to do? Well he borrowed equipment from so employees
But no one had shoes to fit an American. He was told he could get in line but not to get out of the truck, well once in line he read and napped and waited for all the BIG trucks ahead of him to get serviced, when it was his turn the man in charge signaled him out of the truck for consultation Oh no, what to do, no shoes. After much discussion and passing out tracks to the assembled onlookers he was permitted back in the lorry, reminded he did not have safety tire blocks and road flares or orange reflective triangles (nobody in Malawi has the last article)
John call at 1530 and said he would be home soon. Well at almost 1700 he arrived at his castle, tired, hungry and just a little piqued.
Please don’t ask a missionary what he does with all his time, these adventures happen all the time, try going to a Malawi hardware store sometime.
Yes I made the right choice today, let’s see what tomorrow brings. God bless and keep you. Mr. Malawi