Wednesday, 1 April 2015

15 Years Ago Today

Malawi clouds,
the first thing I noticed and loved
Fifteen years ago today, eight Americans landed at Chileka International Airport, in Blantyre, Malawi. Three adults, two teenage boys, and three girls stumbled into the hot airport, stood in line at immigration, and stood around the baggage conveyor belt in hopes of seeing any of their twenty-seven suitcases (27!). We piled up the carry-on backpacks and this exhausted and sick eight-year-old lay on top of them while we waited and waited for our suitcases to show up.

On the tarmac in South Africa
Eric Sythoff, the American picking us up, bought us girls Fanta Orange, my first taste of Malawi's favorite drink. I couldn't finish it and I felt bad. Eventually we gave up on the suitcases and drove to the guesthouse. I think I took a nap. I'm not sure if we had figured out the mosquito net by that time. But by that evening (or perhaps the next morning), I had racked up ten mosquito bites on my face.

Dad kissing the ground at Chileka
That evening we were treated to dinner at the Chinese restaurant by the Sythoffs and Fred and Grace Holland. Grandpa Fred offered each of us kids the choice of a twisty metal fish from Israel or a silver dollar. You probably already know what this practical girl chose.

I fell asleep at the table and Mom walked back to the guest house with Sharon and me. I slept under a mosquito net for the first time. And there you have it--my first day of twelve years' worth of days in Malawi, an experience I wouldn't change for the world.

And now some more pictures from our first year.


  1. Awww! Special memories. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Dear Susanna, Thank you for celebrating our "he is no FOOL who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose" (Jim Elliot) anniversary! Thanks for sharing your memories and perspective! Live Dad