In 1964 Columbia Records released Bob Dylan’s third studio album titled, The Times They Are a-Changin’. Well, the times are certainly changing in Lilongwe, Malawi. You would not recognize the former “village” of Lilongwe if you lived here 20 or even 15 years ago, for it is growing by leaps and bounds!
Thursday of last week brought the grand opening of the newest Game Store, a South African chain store much like Wal-Mart, but on a smaller scale of course. People turned out en masse to welcome the new store. The queue stretched hundreds of meters just to enter the store. Once inside, well, you can imagine.
You can’t imagine what it feels like to know that when you need something as simple as a bolt or washer you no longer have to go to small shops all over the city in your quest! The times are changing!
Today we had lunch at another new establishment here in Lilongwe – the Chili Pepper Restaurant. That’s right, a Mexican restaurant here in Malawi!
Before you get too excited, it sure is not the same thing as Pappasito’s in Texas! There were no chips, no hot sauce, they didn’t even have iced tea. But, just the thought of Tex-Mex in Malawi is pretty exciting. I ordered one of their specialties, a Burrito with chicken. When I gave the waiter my order he politely repeated it to me: “One Bu-lee-tow”. I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Yes, one Bu-lee-tow.” You see, many Malawians exchange an r for an l, and vise versa. Too funny, but it was a pretty good buleetow.
I know that my missionary colleagues faced many challenges in times past here in Malawi. Many modern conveniences were simply not available (many still are not!). But, The Times They Are a-Changin’. And we are glad!