Sunday, November 20, 2011

Letters from Malawi

I hope that all of the letters we sent have reached their recipients by now. A brief word of explanation is due though, so that you do not think too poorly of the Malawi Post Corporation. Many of the letters that were sent on 20 October, were written in mid-July. On the inside of the card there is the date when we wrote them, but they did not get sent until mid- October. We were wanting to get them all written before we sent them. We did not finish before school started and progress was quite slow thereafter until the mid-term break.

Mailing them from the Post Office was an interesting process that took over an hour. Each letter was weighed individually and then the stamps were counted off for each. Then they had to be licked and stuck on.  (Missed those sticker stamps and the fact that even if I had a stack of mail to send it would be taken care of in 10 minutes at the McConnells PO). We did not think the stamps would stay on well enough, so we added the extra step of covering them in clear tape. Aren't they pretty?:) So, sorry if what we said was a bit out of date. We love you all. Take care.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Rains Have Begun

This has been a most unusual beginning to the rainy season. People have said that it has been decades since there has been rain as early as this year. Throughout mid-late October, there were many isolated hard rains. Last year, we had a brief 30 minute shower in October, but then the "real rains" started in late November or early December.

It is so beautiful when it rains. The temperature drops afterwards and everything begins to green up again. It really is a completely different landscape.  It is also lovely to be under a tin roof when it begins! I have posted a clip of the first hard rain during a school day while the Academy is in session. This is looking out the front doors of the Admin Bldg. This happened on Tuesday 15 November. (It took about 45 minutes a piece for these clips to load. I could have used a different format, but looking at it on my computer it was so grainy that it did not seem worth posting. I am not able to tell if this will be any better. If someone with a "real" internet connection can look at this and tell me if it was worth posting, I would appreciate it. If it is not, I will probably give up trying to post videos and just stay with pictures. [I could not get the second one to load at all!] )

Please pray for the people of Malawi. Pray that the rains will be what they need for their maize crops to do well. In the last six months fuel has gone from MK256/ liter to MK380/liter ($1.46-$2.17) for petrol and about the same percentage increase  for diesel. Now most Malawians of course do not have vehicles, but many in the city use the mini-bus to get to work and they are significantly affected by the rise in the price of food due to the increase in transportation costs. During this same time Kwacha has been devalued some, not as much as the IMF and World Bank would like, but that has also had an affect on the rise of prices here recently.

Then, this past week the Parliament unanimously voted themselves an increase in their overall monthly compensation package from MK390,000 to MK 1,000,000 ($2,228-$5714)! The President said that he would only sign it if the MP's impeached his VP!

Things are getting increasingly difficult for the average Malawian. Please pray for their leaders to place the needs of their people ahead of their own personal and financial gain. This problem is not unique to Malawi, but it seems much more egregious here.