Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out



   The Warm Heart of Africa

University Lutheran Church of Hope
            Mission Trip
   September 14-October 3, 2006
A Solar Oven
              Tell me more!
   The Solar Oven comes with all the accessories needed
    to cook, including
      2 - 3.4Qt. (3.0 L) black, enameled pots with lids
      1 thermometer with F & C scales
      An instruction manual that includes recipes
      1 WAPI (Water Pasteurization Indicator) that
    confirms when water is safe to drink.
   The Solar Oven weighs just 10 pounds and is only 12
    ¼” high by 27 ¼” long by 17" deep.
   To learn more, go to
What problems do Solar Ovens alleviate
            in Malawi?
   Malawi suffers from deforestation. It takes a ton of
    wood to maintain a family of 4 for a year.
   Women, especially young women, spend large amounts
    of time and effort foraging for firewood.
   When firewood is not available, people may drink
    contaminated water, leading to diseases.
   Women who work in cooking tents and the babies
    strapped to their backs suffer from lung and eye
    afflictions from being in smoke.
   Women in long skirts risk setting themselves on fire.
         How does one get to Malawi?
We took this Northwest A330 from Minneapolis to ..
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport
..where we changed to a KLM 777 to
          Nairobi, Kenya.
We spent the night in the Mennonite
     Guest House in Nairobi,
.. then left the next day, flying past Tanzania’s
               Mount Kilamanjaro...
.. and on to Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital, in
       this Kenya Airways 767-300.
Inside the ELCM (Evangelical Lutheran Church
of Malawi) compound at Lilongwe. Luther Hall
is to the left, the cathedral is in the background.
Looking outside the main gate of the compound.
  People are everywhere, the roads are mostly
 unimproved, and the ground is pretty barren.
 Malawian money.
137 Kwacha = $1.00.
 MWK500 = $3.65.
Eric, an employee of the ELCM. This is a Malawi
 laundromat. We did our laundry this way, too;
          with helpful advice from Eric.
 Sunday morning worship in
Lilongwe Lutheran Cathedral.
During the sermon, Abusa (Pastor) Kwanza Yu
 taught the children under a tree in the yard.
In a nice tradition, the choirs continue to sing as
   everyone leaves the church after worship.
 Tim assembles a solar oven. The 7 of us were
able to take 12 knocked-down ovens to Malawi.
   Check it out!
    Over 100 degrees
    Celsius, the
    boiling point of
    water. That’s the
    Malawi sun in
The swings have no seats, but the kids have
              fun anyway!
   This slide was
    dangerous; even the
    kids could see that.
    They climbed up the
    trough, but wouldn’t
    go down it.
 Our happy home in the ELCM compound in Lilongwe.
Our room was in the short portion of the “L”. Conditions
        were pretty spartan by our standards.
The Mission; solar oven in front. Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe is front
and center; behind to the right is his associate, Mphatso Thole, who
       shepherded us all over Malawi. Nice job, Mphatso!
 Street scene in Lilongwe. As the mosque indicates, Islam
is growing in Malawi. There appears to be no evidence of
         tension between Christians and Moslems.
Lilongwe street scenes...
Kristof Nordin, an American ex-pat now living in rural
 Malawi. He and his family are working to prove the
 viability of many types of foods in that environment.
The gang having tea in Kristof’s very lush garden. He’s
figured out how to have viable food crops all year round
           amid his neighbors’ brown fields.
 Edwin the gatekeeper (standing), and a friend.
Edwin, a gentle and dear fellow, is one of the one-
      out-of-six Malawians carrying HIV.
   Here’s one of the
    problems we’re
    trying to mitigate:
    firewood via bicycle.
    How much did he
    have to pay for this?
    How far did he have
    to go to get it?
Here’s one of the problems we’re trying to alleviate: The
        need to gather and transport firewood.
Our very luxurious cabin at Mvuu Camp in
         Liwonde National Park.
 Wart Hogs in the yard. They appeared to be
neither threatening to us nor threatened by us.
Njovu! One of a number of elephants we saw while on a
      drive around the park in the early evening.
Part of the tradition at Mvuu Camp is to stop by the
 Shire river and enjoy an MGT while the sun sets.

   * (That’s a Malawi Gin & Tonic!)
         Early in the morning….
   We had gotten used to hearing wart hogs in the yard
    and monkeys scampering on the roof.
   However, the crashing we heard around 4:30am was a
   Craig got up and peeked out from behind the linen
    curtains and there were 2 elephants, Mama and Baby,
    pulling branches out of the trees for breakfast!
   Sydney looked out the side and, not 10 feet away, was
    Papa! BIG! WAY above the roof line! We watched
    hushed for about 10 minutes until they all moved
    silently away!
Craig & Sydney in the shade of a Baobab Tree.
The next morning, we went cruising on the Shire,
      home to Mvuu, the Hippopotamus!
Antelope grazing along the Shire, keeping their
               distance from….
..the crocodiles!
Njovu crossing an inlet.
Cormorants that have turned everything white
           with their droppings.
Fish Eagles high above the Shire.
Mvuu Camp’s main lodge from the river.
    And as we drove the narrow track out of
         the park, through the forest...

 We were seeing elephants in the scrub.
 We stopped several times to get photos.
 As we entered a small clearing, we
  encountered a not-fully-grown male.
 He turned to face us.
 His message was unmistakable!
Mphatso muttered, “He’s going to charge”; Odar put the
car into reverse and retreated. We waited. Njovu decided
       we were no threat and turned into the bush.
    Think about that elephant for a moment.

   There are no large animals in Africa that can
    be domesticated.
   You cannot domesticate an African elephant, a
    hippopotamus, a rhinoceros, a zebra, a
    wildebeest, nor a giraffe.
   Think of what this means for development.
   No animal will pull your plow, none will carry
    your burden, none will carry you.
   How do you develop a society beyond
    subsistence with that situation?
The Lutheran Church at Zomba.
Cooking nsima, the national comfort food, near
            the church in Zomba.
   Nsima is made from corn.
   They’ve milled it and removed virtually
    everything that’s good for you.
   What’s left is a white powder that they mix
    with water and cook.
   Nsima fills your belly, but provides starch as its
    sole nutrient.
   Consequently, people with full bellies are
    suffering from malnutrition.
          So why do they eat it?
   It doesn’t taste good; it hardly has any taste at
   Somehow, Malawians have decided that the
    more nutritious parts of the foods are low class,
    fit only for the poor or for animals.
   Their grandparents had diets much more
    varied and healthy.
   Since, however, the life expectancy is under 40,
    most of them never knew their grandparents,
    much less what they ate.
    Every time we visited a rural church, we were welcomed with
infectious and joyous songs! To download a brief clip of their music,
         go to .
Inside a rural “church”. The porous tarp
 isn’t much help during the rainy season.
Little kids at the rural church. Some appear to be
 suffering from either malnutrition or parasites.
Still more women arrive in a pickup,
         singing all the way!
 In a truly welcoming gesture, before serving a meal, a
parish worker approaches every guest on her knees and
         pours warm water for a hand-washing.
   The usual way in which
    women transport their

   Sometimes we’d see
    young girls, even pre-
    teens, carrying babies
    this way. Was she the
    mother, or had the
    parents died?
 Typical scene along the road in a semi-built-up area.
People walking everywhere, sometimes with big loads,
       sometimes for apparent great distances.
Shot from the Supreme City Lodge in Blantyre,
            Malawi’s largest city.
 Cooking nsima behind the deanery in Blantyre.
No wonder their eyes and lungs are so unhealthy!
Jerry Johnson and the Dean of Blantyre checking
 out a reflecting solar cooker. It’s being used to
      pasteurize a couple of liters of water.
Preparing vegetables for the solar
      oven demonstration.
The solar oven demonstration at Blantyre.
Communion celebration in the Blantyre Church with our
     own Abusa (Pastor) Kwanza Yu assisting.
Kwanza rocks! All the pastors sway to the music as the
 choirs sing us out after the 3 hour 10 minute service.
Market scenes along the road...
   More scenes along the way. (The furniture
business seemed fairly common; they appeared to
            be good-quality products.)
By the shores of beautiful Lake Malawi.
We had a couple of days of relaxation at a small
 guest house on Monkey Bay, Lake Malawi.
Local women do their washing.
Kids in class at a very nice school in Monkey Bay.
    Some rooms have desks, but not this one.
     What does this school need?
   They have 750 students and just 4 teachers and 2
   The government will send them more teachers, but they
    must provide housing first.
   Many of the few desks they have are in need of repairs
    before they can be used.
   They have few textbooks
   They have few exercise books.
   The teachers are paid about $54.00 per month, of
    which they pay $20.00 for rent.
 That’s  all they need!
 Not all problems in Malawi can be
  fixed with money, but this one can!
 If they acquired a large sum of
  money, they’d know how to use it
  effectively for the good of their
Passing through the countryside on
    the way back to Lilongwe.
Here’s how you get fresh fish home without
      annoying the other passengers!
   A giant termite hill, fairly common in the
countryside. They always lean toward the north.
The community water pump, government
       supplied in many villages.
Another solar oven demonstration in
Formal presentation of solar ovens, soccer balls, t-shirts,
 and infant caps to Bishop Bvumbwe and his staff as a
       none-too-happy Martin Luther looks on.
Burial site of Dr. Hastings Banda, the first
            president of Malawi.
  Kwanza delivering her sermon in Madisi,
interpreted into Chichewa by the local Abusa.
The women are poor, but walk tall and
      proud. Beautiful skirts!
Craig with Christopher, our cook, and
    Eric, an all-around good guy.
Farewell to our intrepid driver, Odar. He was always
  cautious, effective, considerate, and gentlemanly.
Here’s something else money can fix -
playground equipment at the ELCM
       compound in Lilongwe.
..and finally, on Monday, October 2, we hit
            the long trek home...

 Lilongwe to Nairobi on a 2-hour flight;
 a 6-hour layover in Nairobi airport;
 a 9-hour flight from Nairobi to
 a 4-hour layover in Amsterdam;
 and finally the 9-hour flight to
  Minneapolis where we arrived about
  noon on Tuesday, October 3.
The End
A Craig & Sydney Production
Photos by Craig Wiester, Sydney Rice,
    and Mike & Ruth Fingerson

To top