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Celebration, Malawi style

It's been another good week, starting with a five hour church service last Sunday! It was a special service, when they were inducting a minister. It started with the usual hour or so of singing by all the different choirs, of which there are many.

Then, after the sermon and the induction ceremony, the real party began. Once again to the accompaniment of the praise band, they started parading in the gifts for the new minister and his wife. They varied from wrapped boxes of average size to bedsteads and mattresses! I saw a stove being paraded along at one point. Everyone was having a great time.

Then after the big gifts were over, they started a cash shower. Two women opened up a chitenji (a piece of cloth about three by five feet big) and people danced by, tossing in smaller bills. This part went on for a very long time, the mistress of ceremonies being an enthusiastic sort who kept urging people on. She even called us up to contribute something, so we did, dancing clumsily all the way up and back! It was quite the experience! That was the last of the major part of the service and at last it came to a close.

I am glad that the services are not normally that long! It was a good experience, but it was all in Chichewa, so it dragged a bit except for the singing.

We had another Malawi experience this week, with the internet being down from Saturday afternoon till about Thursday. How did we manage before the days of email?! We have been lucky that the internet has been as dependable as it has been so far.

Another adventure of this week has been Steve going to get his card for owning a vehicle. The first step in buying our own vehicle. That happened on Tuesday, and in another day or two we had a line on a vehicle, thanks to Arnwar, the mechanic whom the Bertrands use. It's quite old, but with a bit of fixing it should serve us well for our time here. Now we are just waiting for our money to show up in our Malawi account so we can buy it! We are hoping it all works out and by this time next week we'll have a vehicle. Everyone will be glad when that happens!

On about Wednesday of this week, we actually got some mail--real cards in real envelopes! Apparently Blair has a box at the synod office and our mail arrived there. So thanks to those groups in the Maritimes who actually sent us the cards. It was lovely to get them. We don't expect to get anything more though.

Thursday we went for a walk through the synod property and ended up at the library of the University of Blantyre Synod. It's very small, but I found a book I may ask to borrow at some time. They have a lot of theological books, but not so many in other areas. Another interesting experience.

Yesterday, Valentine's Day, I had just finished my one class when one of the students presented me with a lovely Valentine picture "to give to your husband." I was totally surprised and touched! What a thoughtful gift!! They know that Steve also teaches there, but he doesn't teach this class. I was very impressed and accepted it with heartfelt thanks. I will include a picture of it below.

Well, it has been quite a week, what with some home repairs finally taking place on top of all the things I have already mentioned. In fact, we are waiting for the repair man to come right now to finish up. We'll see if he actually comes today. Hope so.

Hope all is well with all of you. I will let you know what happens about the vehicle.

The Valentine and Steve outside our house.

Flowers between our house and the gazebo.

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