There is always that awkward feeling waiting in the airport for people to arrive. Our group of five students and a personal colleague had never been to Malawi and were not only exhausted from their day and a half journey, but we imagined they were probably a little confused by some of the customs of customs as they had their bags searched after claiming them on the carousel. Because the South Africa Airlines and the Ethiopian Airlines planes arrived at the same time, it took some time for them to make their way into the central atrium of the airport and we could grab them. Gail and I passed the time by describing the lives of each person who emerged from the bowels of customs. While this does not sound like much, Gail and I were could not have been more entertained by ourselves. Griffin was not so much and waited with a friend out of earshot.
When they did come through we were relieved and excited to see them (it is always a reason to celebrate making a 9,000 mile trip and end up where you were supposed to…). We hustled them to the car,
“That nice shiny night black 4X4 Land Rover with the AC and the bump’in sound system?…”
“No, the one next to it.”
“Is that a car?”
“Oh, yeah sure it is. It is just covered in an inch and a half of dust! See…” as we frantically wipe the window.
“Oh, is this the front?”
“No the back.”
We love our car. We call it The Precious or The Pule. We had to spend the last day and a half in Lilongwe doing some final business before the visitors arrived. A little known fact about Lilongwe is that it is the dustiest city. In the world. It is hot and dusty all the time. When you breathe in, you inhale so much dust that it becomes part respiratory system and when you exhale you can see your breath (because it is full of dust). Anyway, the city life turned our Pule into a moving pile of dirt. Throw in a door knob disaster, and me spilling rice all over the back seat, she wasn’t what we thought she’d be when they arrived. It was a good thing they were all zombies at that point and could care less.
As we drove back home it was interesting to watch them try to stay awake and see the landscape as we drove north. Lindsey sat straight up with her sun glasses on watching cars and trucks on the road. Or so we thought. She had fallen asleep behind her sunglasses almost immediately after we left the airport. Scott, Evan, and Catherine sat in the back, completely passed out, their heads flopping all over the place as the van bounced over the many many bumps and ruts on M1 and the Ntchisi Turnoff. Joanna tried so hard to stay awake… tried so hard…
Only Susan was able to stay awake for the whole journey and was even chatty; however, by the end of the drive everyone was awake and excited to see their new home for the next three and a half weeks.
We gave them the quick tour and had a fantastic chicken dinner before they staggered off to bed.
We are very excited to have these energetic and exciting people with us to help develop our programs. We have a lot of work to do so it was great to see that Scott was up at 6 the next morning ready to explore, but the rest of the crew had no trouble sleeping in past 11 before slowly getting up. Now they are ready to roll…