Anj Clapham

The Q

18 Sep 2011

'Anj what did you do whilst in the petrol queue for so many hours' someone on FB asked me?

In the last two days I have spent 8 hours and 40 minutes in two fuel queues. The answer to the question is that I cant be sure. It is entirely likely I slipped into another dimension.

Take this morning for example. We jockeyed for position in the queue from 7:15 to about 9:30 or ten. This involved nudging forward and chatting to other drivers about what order we go in and how we block people from pushing in. I tried to read my kindle but there were people coming and going to the shop at the servo. I ate a banana and drank some water then decided I should find where the bathroom is. Reconnaissance mission done I settled back to my car to listen to the BBC world service. I tried reading a chichewa newspaper without much luck.

The truck carrying the diesel arrived just after I saw my fellow team members rushing off to church around 9:15. They were rushing as church starts at 9.

Did you know fuel tanks are in sections like the titanic? Fuel tankers are virtually unsinkable!!!

Around 10:30 was time for a snack/breakfast. I scoured the shelves of the shop at the servo for likely food items:maize,, chewing I settled on yoghurt and caramel milk from South Africa. I know the milk will upset my stomach but that is tomorrows problem. I got to the counter to discover they had no spoons for the yoghurt. No problem. Having had African yoghurt before I know it is the pouring variety..not a solid but a liquid.

In between I carefully observed the unloading of the tank. I looked for any safety breaches.. because I could and it would have made a great photo. Alas they even wore harnesses atop the truck.

I grabbed a coke. I thought it might give me something to do for 5mins rather than watching the tanker impatiently.

I chatted sporadically with an American teacher who was keen to go to South Sudan to work. I gave him the name of my mechanic...the sage (from a previous post). The truck departed at around 11am and they started pumping the fuel.

There was more jockeying for space. A few guys just pushed in by driving to the front of the queue and stopping. One man was trying his level best to push in in front of me so I got out of my car and said to him 'I hope you werent planning on pushing in infront of me as I was here before you and it would be wrong to push in'. He muttered embarrassed about others pushing in but agreed he would not try to push in before me. 

Finally it was my turn to get fuel.. AHHH the jubilation. I felt like I had won and a prize in a gameshow. The pushing in man came up to me to try and explain and I commented that he was a bit unethical in his approach as he just pushed in front of the next car. He was actually driving and filling two cars at the same time so technically he pushed in twice.

When I got home I did a happy dance and shouted woohoo. the victory was mine

So that is the answer of how you fill 4 hours and 40 minutes in a queue.

now yesterday was different. There was the where to put the the temporary tattoo that came with the World Cup bubble gum.

The Sage

02 Sep 2011

Its hard to believe but my mechanic is a sage. One time I dropped my car off to him he asked me about culture shock. Yes the fuel queues were bothersome, yes riots were freaking me out, yes I found it difficult to get some foodstuffs and medicines but no I was quite pleased to be here and had no sign of culture shock.

He said that at 6 months when it all sinks in and becomes a reality of life that then I would experience culture shock.

His words rang true at 5 months, though I prefer to call it culture frustration, culture annoyance, culture disappointment. This was really brought to the fore when people smashed my gate lights the other night. I am still unsure of their intentions.

Good news is after much processing over lunch with Jacky and pots of marmalade with Helen I have made a few steps through this latest transition.

Today I told my sage (the mechanic) that he was right and that the honeymoon was over. He said that was good as now I can start finding all the good things about Malawi like coffee.

Tomorrow I am going on Safari to Nyala Park. I am so excited and grateful to be given an opportunity to go and view animals. Incidentally I am taking a thermos of good coffee.

There are many good things about being here like sharing about Gods love with orphans and HIV sufferers. I am learning Chichewa and I have learnt a chorus and actions. I have lots of great new friends who are becoming like family.

I am in a beautiful country and I feel truly blessed. Each night I still put on the full armour of God and I do sleep like a log




Prayer Points

29 Jun 2011
  • Praise God that language learning with Grace is going ok.
  • Please pray that I will be able to make some Malawian friends.
  • Praise God that I managed to get a dog (Moya). She is a cross local dog and Rottweiler and a very loyal guard dog.
  • Please pray that I will have no problems getting hold of the medications I need. They do have some in stock in Malawi but please pray they will have a regular supply.
  • Please pray that the diesel shortage will be over so that HOPE for AIDS can continue to work in the villages.

Joy through Forgiveness

29 Jun 2011

Romans 5:6-8
"You see, just at the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us".

Recently I have been thinking a lot about the fact that Jesus died for the sins I commit every day and though I continue to sin, I am still forgiven. This amazes me and I am so thankful. There is reason for joy every day because my sins are not counted against me.

home based care

I was thinking about this passage as I went to visit one of the home based care programs for the distribution of goods. Each patient received soap, milk powder, sugar and Likuni Phala (vitamin fortified maize porridge). Though the patients are not well, they sang and praised God. It was a delight to see and hear. Many seemed to understand that they were forgiven and had a joy despite the sufferings they endure.

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