Looking for 12 People

First, I want to tell you about Lucy.

IMG_1068 Lucy is married to Chifundo and she is the woman on the ground in Malawi that represents The Elephant.  She cooks our food at the house, she takes care of food on the road, and she is the deal finder in the market for food or for take home stuff!!

Lucy plays a vital role with our team and with her family.  She does not have a “job” per se, but she works like few of us do here in America.  She is always trying to make money for her and Chifundo or to help her extended family, or to help the people who live near her.  She supports her brother who is about to start attending University, he was about to take his high school level exams the day we left Malawi.  She also supports another man, Douglas – who helps around the house.  By helping I mean she feeds them, keeps them clothed, and with the things they need (minutes on their cel phones, etc).  In exchange both men help out around the house (cleaning, laundry, etc).  Meanwhile Lucy is out reselling things that come her way (furniture, clothing, etc) or things she purchases while in South Africa.


She is an amazing woman who speaks such truth all the time.  Just sitting around talking about life, she preaches.  Seriously.  However it never feels forced, only natural.  She is an inspiration to me.  She has learned to walk by faith in her life through many trials that she has faced.  When hard things come her way, she prays and trusts that God will provide an opportunity, and he always does!

So here is what I am trying to do, and I NEED your help!!  Lucy wants to open a shop.  She makes occasional trips to South Africa and is able to purchase things there that she can bring back and resell.  She wants to rent a space full time, and sell those items there. She can bring back hair extensions (everyone who can afford them, has them – and in Malawi they are about $6).  She designs her own dresses and has a tailor who makes them.  She could have these made and sell them.


She needs seed money though.  She cannot take out a loan like we can – to start her business.  So The Elephant wants to get her started.  Once she starts, this business will not only help support her immediate and extended family – it will help support others nearby.  She will  need to hire someone to help her work the store.  She will increase the work for her tailor Alfred, and so on.  It will ripple far beyond where we can anticipate right now.


I want to find 12 people who are willing to donate (tax deductible) $60.  What will you get?  I will mail or deliver a subscription box to you – at no cost, as a thank you!  Then you will get an update with photos once her store is open and running.  I plan to have a plaque hanging in her shop that mentions those who gave to start this business, as well.  This is a real life example of teaching someone to fish – not just giving them a fish.  By helping Lucy get started this will impact a number of people and will help support an amazing family living for the Lord every day and discipling people all over Malawi!!

If you are interested please email me directly, I prefer checks made out to the Elephant.  You will get a tax-deductible donation receipt in return as well.  I would love to do this as soon as possible!!  Thank you so much!!

Malawi : Food

Well, we’ve been home a week or so now and it seems almost surreal to me that I was in Africa 10 days ago.  Putting together a presentation for the Texas Beekeepers Association about our trip last week, made me miss those sweet smiling faces, the cool weather and our amazing hosts (Chifundo & Lucy)!!

I covered many highlights from our trip, but I really did not go into detail about the food, and I wanted to go back and do that.  So if you are wondering what the food was like, maybe you are considering going with us next year, this should help answer your questions!!

First, we ate very well.  We had breakfast of fried potatoes (fries) and eggs, and usually some vegetable with it.  Its good to remember that Americans are the really the only people with designated breakfast food, most other countries just eat regular food for breakfast.

We normally ate lunch where ever we were and this was rice or Ncima.  Ncima is their “bread” – it is a staple food that they use to eat the other items in their meal.  This is a corn flour that is added to water and is boiled – so it makes a thick dough but not really a cooked dough like bread that we are used to.  You get a serving of this, then you take a piece of it and work it in your hand then use it to scoop up your other food.

Jacob told me about Ncima (sounds like inseam), but it was not what I expected – based on what Jacob said I came up with what I thought he said in my head – it was not accurate.  There is not a lot of flavor with Ncima – which is why relish (their word for sauce, gravy, meat, other stuff on your plate) is so important.  The Ncima takes on the flavors of the other food.

We ate a lot of goat, and it was good.  It did not taste like goat, and trust me I have had good goat and bad goat over here, so when I say it did not taste goaty, I mean it.  We also had beef several times.  Both the goat and beef were cuts of meat with the bones still present – so that added flavor to the recipe as well.  Then there were lots of spices and onions and tomatoes, etc.  This made the gravy, but they call this relish.

If we did not have Ncima, and sometimes when we did we had rice – only when we had forks thought, and the relish on the rice was always very good.  Lucy cut up vegetables and kind of sautéed them together quickly so they were tender crisp and very good.  I loved her green beans the most!  One morning she cooked up vegetables in a light egg batter – kind of like you get at a Japanese restaurant – tempura style and these were AMAZING – another of my favorites.

Dinner was usually very late so it was sometimes left overs from the day or the previous day.  One day we had Chomba – which is a local fish they catch in Lake Malawi.  It was very good – lots of bones, but they were big and easy to avoid.  I would love to eat more chomba next time!

Then there is chicken.  Lovely chicken.  When I say we saw chickens and goats in every village, I mean EVERY village.  The funny thing is I don’t think the local people have any fondness for them.  I loved seeing the hens with their chicks and the goat families!  It was a reminder of home for me.  One village sent us home with a hen and rooster as a gift to Lucy & Chifundo.  We heard that rooster crow the next morning very early and for a while.  Then no more.  We did not think anything of it.  Did not ask any questions.  But for lunch we saw them again!

We enjoyed a chicken meal – with the feet in the pot and another surprise.  As we were eating, Jacob had his food and was about to take a bite and looked a little closer only to realize that the piece he had was the chicken HEAD!!  Crazy! He passed on that and found another piece to eat!

In town there is a pizza place (Pizza Inn) that is buy 1 get 1 on Tuesday night, so we did enjoy a meal there one night and even got ice cream (soft serve) from Steers – think Burger King.  It was a fun treat!

Another favorite that we saw everyone eating was sugar cane – they sell this everywhere!  I do not have a photo of the bikes loaded with it – but we saw them everywhere.  Finally a day or two before we left we got our hands on some and they cut it up for us.  The locals have super strong teeth – so they can chew/bite pieces off – but not us soft Americans.  It was very good – sweet but not like I expected – more like fruit juice sweet.  You chew it up and spit it out.

So that is a little about our food adventures over there.  I did not lose any weight over there.  Maybe it was my 17 year old snack addict that kept telling me I had to try this or that.  Or maybe it was the sodas they sell over there that are very good and so much better than the ones over here.  One big plus was no high fructose corn syrup in stuff.   I hate that stuff, so was happy it was missing from ingredient lists!!

Malawi Day 8 (Thursday)

I have many favorites during out time in Malawi, and this day is certainly a favorite.  

In Malawi there are many children that dig through trash at the dump looking for food for them and their family.  Last year Elizabeth decided that she wanted to host a group of these boys instead of having a farewell meal with other people.  So Chifundo found a group of these boys (12 of them) and invited them to our house for a meal and fellowship.  

Enjoying a wonderful meal
Eating all they wanted
More boys and their meal
Enjoying their time of fellowship with us


He told them the day before to bathe so that they were clean.  To wear their best clothes.  And the details of when he would get them.  When he picked them up, other people yelled to the boys that we wanted to steal them, or take them away and take their blood, etc.  Crazy.  But they told the people they knew this man and it was fine.

They arrived shy.  But once we  brought out the soccer ball, their apprehension melted away.  I was introduced to them, ranging in age from 11-18.  It was a heart breaking day for me.  Throughout our time with them my heart just hurt that this group was more family then their real family.  These boys spent more time with each other than their real family.  One boy did not have any living parents.  Three had a single mother.  So hard.


So the boys played with them – then we had a time of music and singing.  They seemed to know some songs – they definitely knew how to dance.  And they laughed.  
Next we shared with them for a bit from God’s word.  Encouraged them to follow the Lord, and to trust him.  Then we fed them!  They loved the full plates of food.  They loved the soda!

As a farewell we gave them a Walmart bag with a bar of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, gloves, and a fidget spinner.  They were elated!!  Then we gave them all empty water bottles – that we were saving to turn in – and filled them with water – again, they were thrilled!

The plan is to continue with this particular group of boys, to host them twice a month to feed them and teach them about the Lord.  In my opinion, this follow up is the most important.  Not the feeding, but the discipling.  Knowing that we started a process that will continue with these boys is very satisfying. 

Malawi Day 7 (Wednesday)

(Photos to follow)

Today was our next day off to the next village.  This particular day we were not going into one particular village to meet with all sorts of people.  Instead, we met with Daniel so we could encourage his beekeeping club.  He started his club last year.  In this club they try to work together and learn from each other. 
We brought a langstroth hive box to show them and we talked about how to get started and all about bees.  There were about 6 current beekeepers, but about 20 people who did not have bees yet.  

Then, we trekked over to Daniel’s bees and Jacob and Elizabeth suited up with Daniel and went into one of the hives.  Interesting to say the least!  The hive was very strong, and quite aggressive.  When they opened the hive some of the wax the bees built came off, which is very disturbing to them, and we think this increased their anger toward the intruders.

A couple people were stung, but I think they enjoyed the experience.

On our way home we went into town to purchase a bicycle.  One occupation here is to be a bicycle taxi driver.  The men sit and wait for someone to hire them, then they drive them to their desired location.  One man that Chifundo is diciplining is Blessing.  This man borrows a bike to use and has to pay most of his earnings to the owner each day.  So The Elephant wanted to buy this man a bicycle so he can use ALL the money he earns for his family.  A bicycle here is about 60,000 Kwatcha which is about $83 US dollars.

Then we tried again to figure out the visa for Lucy.

We picked up a man, Lawrence, and I was excited to know that he knows many of our friends to include Nathan Lorick and Grant Parker!  He went to the hotel with us to try and help us figure it out.  It did not work – so we had to trust that another day we could figure it out.

It was a busy day and a good one.  Going into bees and teaching about them is one of our favorites.  For the residents in Dowa it was a great time to learn more about what goes on inside the hive and more about the honey bee in general.  We also gifted them some money that a fellow beekeeper in East Texas gave us to help their club purchase a bee suit.

Malawi Day 5 & 6 (Monday, Tuesday)


This day we were supposed to all head to the hospital to prep & paint the maternity ward.  However, since the weekend was non-stop, Elizabeth decided to leave us at home to sleep a bit while she went with some of the guys here to prep and get everything ready.  Fortunately for us, Chifundo knows a painter and he met them there as well.  They were able to prep and paint the entire room (full of people) in one day.

The interesting part of this adventure was that the room was occupied while they painted.  The beds were filled with children.  So first, before prepping started, they had to move beds from one side of the room to the other.  Prepped that side and painted it, then moved the beds back.  Next, they moved the beds from the other side of the room out of the way and prepped and painted that side.  Talk about some back breaking work!  

It was a success though and looked so much better!  They were able to talk with some of the patients as well.  Elizabeth brought over some knit gloves and fidget spinners and she shared some of these with the patients and families who were at the hospital.

Meanwhile back at home, the boys and I got some much needed sleep and a little down time.  We downloaded pictures (lots of them) and I tried to start writing notes on our adventures.

Day 6 (Tuesday)

Today was scheduled to be day #2 at the hospital painting.  However since they were so efficient yesterday we got to play today.  Tuesday is also half price pizza at a pizza place in town.  Last year Jacob enjoyed the pizza here and wanted to take us too.  Nearby is a hotel that has wifi you can pay to use as well.  So that was our day.  We hung out at the hotel and got our wifi fix!  

We also started filling out a visa application for Lucy so she can come to the US to visit and raise support for the Elephant and all that they are currently doing in Malawi.

This is the day I was able to post some photos to Facebook and updates on my blog!  Some evidence of all that we were doing!

Part of my day was going with Chifundo to an internet cafe too – no what I was expecting!  Think closet with dividers and about 4 feet of personal space to sit at a computer.  If a room could hold 4 computers with people comfortably, they had about 10 spots!  It was crazy too me!  Men in suits in there (doing work?), youth (doing school?) and then just regular people.  It was another adventure!!

But we were not able to figure out the Visa application, so we planned to tackle that again another day!

Pizza was fun, and different.  We ordered Peri Peri Chicken, BBQ Beef, Chicken Tika, and Boerworse (meat & tomato).  The fun part was that our driver Cryton experienced pizza with us, for his first time!  The funniest part was he was using a knife and fork!  This is funny because they eat with their hands all the time!!  

After pizza we ordered some ice cream from a restaurant called Steers!  (This Burger King, but they do not do it your way)  This was Cryton’s first Ice cream too.  The sweetest part was he saved some to take home to his 2 year old daughter!  It was a great night!