darlingstephanie's blog

Fuel Shortages

There are lots of fuel (petrol and diesel) shortages at the moment. One SIM missionary recently spent 3 days in a queue before he got some fuel. It isn’t unusual for people to spend a whole day in a queue even when they know fuel was delivered, nor to spend the whole day there and the pump to run dry just before you get to it. Sometimes you’ll see people having business meetings in their cars whilst they wait. There are other shortages too and many commodities, including food have gone up sharply in price.

Practical Skills

Life is Malawi is always good for the acquisition of practical skills and ingenuity. When I returned the cooker had no knobs ... it does now, but they have no markings ... I do now know what is on and off, but getting the right temperature on the oven is still a matter of guess work. I’m extremely glad I brought an oven thermometer out with me! And sometime in the future I have the prospect of a new cooker to look forward to.

Chichewa / Language Acquisition

Thank you to everyone who has prayed about my Chichewa / language acquisition. There must have been a lot of prayer going up because I am absolutely amazed. I came back fully expecting to have lost a lot of what I’d learnt and have discovered that almost the reverse is true. I’ve had people saying ‘Gosh, Stephanie, you must have spent a lot of time on your Chichewa whilst you’ve been away.’ ‘No, I haven’t looked at it – I’ve done the Lord’s prayer in church two or three times and sung one chorus a few times and that’s it!’ It is most encouraging and a huge boost to my confidence.

Cultural Adjustments

It’s great to be back in Malawi and I am amazed at how quickly I’ve felt at home. However, it’s not been without the need for cultural adjustments. On my first Monday I went to say hello in the staff room. I was greeted by the secretary ... ‘Wow! You’re fat!’ ... It was followed by complete confusion on my part and then ‘I’ll soon lose that now that I’m back in Malawi’ ... I was newly back and it wasn’t until later that day that I realised that they were actually paying me a compliment!


The intermittent water or no water continued throughout my first week. Normally I keep a couple of buckets full of water ready for such emergencies and have water stored in a water filter and in the fridge. This time I was not prepared. My water filter came out in my luggage and needed cleaning and a certain amount of water to go through it before I could start using it properly. It was also very hot.

Settling In

Well I’m certainly being encouraged to acclimatise quickly. I had water for an hour yesterday. The electricity was off for 3 hours and went off as I was trying to email people to say I’d arrived safely. Thankfully the water was on this morning for a couple of hours and I was able to have a much needed shower. At 8 o’clock this morning I could hear people outside waiting for me and from the time I opened my door I had a constant stream of little visitors. I tried to excuse myself after about an hour, but everyone just stayed so I decided to clean the outside of my house. What a fab idea ...

My First Entry

Thank you so much for organising a prayer breakfast for me just before I left. It was incredible to see so much food and a lovely way to leave.