As I brush my teeth, I look in my mirror.
How is this person any different than the one that showed up here 1 month ago?
I don’t feel different. But maybe that wasn't my whole goal here.
I came to learn and observe and be a blessing.
So what did I learn?
While I’m mid-ponder a nock comes to our door. I figured it was our housekeeper, who doesn’t actually do anything in our house but likes to greet us every morning anyway.
But it was our supervisor, Lorna with a question: “I reminded you to check your passports when I picked you up from the airport, right?”
Um, no. Not at all. Why?
“Well, you’re only granted 30 days at a time for an entry under a visitor’s permit, but you'll be leaving the country before that, so it shouldn't matter, right?”
No. 31 days.
So what does that mean for us? We’re stuck? We have to leave early? We'll get thrown in jail when we try to leave?
No, we just have to visit the immigration office.
And be really nice to the right person so they give us a visa extension. And pray it doesn’t cost us money.
God was on our side though, we were able to get exactly what we needed at no cost to us, and I’m pretty sure we did it all legally. We met a nice guy named Friday at the immigration office. He called us lovely ladies.
And gave us a visa extension.
Brother Bob was not quite as fortunate. He immigrated on a business visa (we were told to get visitor visas) so he couldn’t legally get an extension. Only, he tried to change it to a visitor visa when he entered the country, and the man in charge did it, but didn’t initial it so it wasn’t valid. So he had to visit the big immigration office in Ndola.
Which is when Frances and I street shopped with Henry.
We’ve been on a mission to get a good, legit good, movie for Henry to watch. He’s told us about some of the rubbish he’s watched (Fast and the Furious 5) and we just don’t think that’s acceptable. We feel it’s our duty to make sure he watches good American movies.
And since the best place to buy them is on the streets, we did. We found THOR (Frances says it’s legit, but I haven’t seen it) We also found Spiderman and all the Pirates of the Caribbean, so he’s set for a while. We were able to find 20-in-1 DVDs for a few dollars. Frances told Henry she’s not sure that kind of DVD is legal in America.
He’s not so sure they’re legal here either.
We ate, what people consider to be, legit Chinese food. Honestly it didn’t taste much different than American Chinese food, but maybe that’s because I got sweet and sour chicken. Except that it wasn’t super oily or super salty. It was really tasty. It redeemed Chinese food for me.
Frances basically just saved my life by jumping onto our island to kill a bug. I’ve been busy boiling water, filling our water bottles up, and freezing them, so my hands were full. She jumped up and killed the bug. Mega legit. I think we’re learning how to be tough like the people here.
[Frances beats the bug!]
I left my head torch (flashlight) with brother Bob. I tried to get it back, but I’m sure he was sleeping. I let him borrow it weeks ago and I’ve been forgetting to ask for it back. I think that might have been God’s way of telling me to leave it here with him where it can be used more. It would have been good to have a light for Tanzania, but I’m sure Julia has one.
Praying she does.
Things I won’t miss:
Bugs. The way water tastes. The way we have to boil water to kill all the bugs and then filter it to catch all the dirt and stuff. Drinking out of ONLY coffee mugs. Instant Coffee. Roosters crowing at 4 am and in the middle of clinic, being called a musungu...
The list of things I WILL miss would be endless!!
Smiles, sunsets, immunizing children, Malawishanis, “How are you?!,” waving to children, rain on the tin roof unless I’m sleeping, days in Ndola with Lorna, Leche water, fresh fruit that has SO much flavor, learning from Mr. Pule and Mr. Musonda, watching kids play football, walking to the river, crossing the river, fresh air, did I already say sunsets?
We made sure to go on our nightly walk to the river, since it's our last night here. The sunset was beautiful tonight. Breathtaking. Maybe the best one yet.
We think Africa was trying to tell us “Goodbye:”
Please pray for us as we travel 14 hours by bus tomorrow. For safety. For understanding if we need to change buses or not. For the bus to be full so it won’t get cancelled. For the people around us to have showered recently. For speed. For us to make it to the bus station by 4:30 am. For goodbyes to be easy.