Can you believe we have been in Malawi for over a month now? Some days the time here flies by and it seems like we haven’t been here as long, and other days go by slower and it seems like it surely has been a month. While some days are long and almost always challenging, I can see God working in this place, in us personally and in our relationship. Being in Africa brings things to light that are often covered up at home by distractions. We really have learned so much while we have been here, professionally and personally.
Due to our busy schedules and internet going in and out here, I haven’t been able to blog as much as I would have liked, but now that we are in the swing of things I’m hoping I can pick it back up!
Two weeks ago Andrew and I went on our first vacation abroad together to Zambia! Coming to Malawi is obviously traveling abroad, but we’re working everyday so even when we are having fun, it’s far from a vacation.
We stayed at Croc Valley Camp in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia and had a great time! We were able to go on 4 safaris and saw some amazing animals as well as sunrises and sunsets. Our tent was right on the river so we could easily hear hippos talking to one another from the river below. I love Croc Valley because so many animals wander in and out of the camp. Monkeys played on our tent and even stole my orange juice and scones from the breakfast buffet! The first night we were there, an elephant was eating a tree about 7 feet away from our tent! I kept trying to poke my head outside to get a better look at him (my eyesight is bad as it is, and it was dark!), but Andrew quickly put a stop to that! We watched him walk around our tent and munch on some trees until the guards at Croc Valley shooed him away. They used little sling shots with rocks in them to persuade the elephants to leave and stop munching on the trees around the property. If they didn’t there would be no trees left!
Every morning we woke up around 5AM to watch the sunrise and head out for our early morning game drive. Just as the sun was rising, the elephants that live nearby would be making their way back across the river and towards the center of the park. They had to cross back because every night as the sun would go down, the elephants would cross the river right by our tent to go to the villages andsteal mangoes!! Who knew…elephants LOVE mangoes! As you can imagine, this makes the villagers quite upset, as they grow the mangoes because they, in fact, also like to eat mangoes. In an attempt to keep the villagers from killing or hurting the thieving elephants, they have been giving guns that shoot chili powder. The elephants don’t like the smell of the powder so they leave and head to a village that they hope doesn’t have chili guns.
During one of our last game drives, we still hadn’t seen any lions and our guide was determined to show us these great animals. He took us deep into the park and literally tracked the lions by finding their paw prints in the dirt. We finally found 3 male lions way out in the park and it was well worth the long trek! They were truly majestic and we were able to get almost uncomfortably close to them. While we were parked and sitting next to them, Andrew stood up to take his hoodie off which got one of the lions attention. He sat straight up and stared right at Andrew with the biggest yellow eyes. Our guide then said, “oh, try not to move, they might attack.” That information might have been useful beforehand! But, luckily we came away uneaten and fully in awe of these powerful animals.
Being in Zambia was such a needed break from the congestion of Lilongwe. It was so nice to relax and just be in nature without hearing any car horns or music playing. I know that experience was one we will treasure forever.
One last note: We have been monitoring the situation in Kenya as we have two good friends there right now, and are happy to say that our friends are safe and so are we. Everything is very quiet here in Malawi and we haven’t felt the least bit unsafe. Please pray for our neighboring country in the North.