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And all of this heartache and sadness will end ...

The whole drama surrounding little Scola's life, and her death, has both deeply saddened and angered me. I first met Scola three years ago when I helped the family reunite a group of orphans in a distant village with relatives here in our village. Scola was just two-years old, recently orphaned when both her parents died of AIDS. She was already on the AIDS medications herself and so when she came to live with her aunt we got her enrolled in the program at the Lugoda Hospital and arranged for her to get on the bus every month to get to the hospital to continue getting her medicines.

He beamed with that wonderful signature smile of his

There were women with babies on their backs, school children, government officials, those campaigning for next week's election, my friends living with AIDS, the orphanage workers, the employees of the local tourist resort and everyone else -- they were all there, more than a thousand people, fighting the fires on the college land.

I learned of the fire out at the college when

A battle that I know will be worth the fight

Fonita looked like an angel as she sang in the seventh grade choir. No concern on her face, just joy! It was the big day for the Mwefu Primary School, their very first seventh-grade graduation and I was honored to be their special Guest of Honor. Being the Guest of Honour means that when I stand up, everyone stands up, when I sit down, everyone sits down. It means I get to hand out the graduation certificates and it means I get to give a speech.

"Tonight, I believe that God is."

“Tonight, I believe that God is.” Those were the words I heard come out of the mouth of Kabonge, a man who is feared in these villages, a man who many visit regularly by so many because of his powers. He is our local witch doctor ...

Tonight we indeed witnessed God orchestrate a miracle, as He caused the lives of many people to intersect at just the right moment. What a joy for me to be here and to see it all come together!

The fires were out of control

We got the first report of the fire while we were in the bus traveling across Malawi -- a short 140 character phone message written in a hurry to say that there was fire out at the college and the call had made made to ask our students to come quickly all the way from Madisi to try to save the buildings The messages that came in on our phone were increasingly alarming; the forests at the college were burning and the fires were out of control. I felt sick at heart.

My excitement grows ...

We've completed our long drive aross the country all the way to the Tanzania-Malawi border. Tomorrow morning Godfrey, Emmanueli, Justin and I will cross the border on foot. Our plan will be then to take what they tell us is an all-day long bus ride to Lilongwe, we'll spend the night there, and then on Friday we'll take another bus to Zomba. That is where we hope to meet up with Davies and hear all that he and the others have planned as they have thought and prayed about the future of Village Schools Malawi. My excitement grows ...

The rest of the story

I have vague memories of a man named Paul Harvey, known I think for his voice on the radio, and the way he let the world in on what he always called "the rest of the story". I thought of him today. Because something really wonderful happened today -- yet another school opened, our nineteeth, this time in the Tanzanian village of Myunga, tucked away near the Zambian border. The people of the village know of the day that Francis arrived for the very first time in their village. They know of how he worked methodically with them month after month to make bricks and haul stones.

Three pictures from Tanzania

Susan just sent me these two pictures of the bus. Abeli (left) spent the last three weeks literally "sleeping with the bus" in the city of Makambako to rush the repairs along and then after all of the work was finished late Saturday evening, he drove it home to Madisi in the middle of the night. He was the one who found the owner of the bus in Makambako that was being sold for parts after its engine was totally destroyed.

One of those wonderful moments in life

Gradutation ceremonies are for the graduates. And, in a very real sense, for their parents.

An extremely thankful heart that we were all alive

While driving yesterday we almost had a head-collision with a seriously speeding tanker truck which came way too fast around a curve on a hill and on the down slope seemed certain to wipe us out. I am very thankful that I was not driving because I don't think I would have had within me the ability to do what Emmanueli did and to choose wisely and quickly and to get us safely out of the way on that narrow mountain road that seemingly offered us no place to hide. We felt the whoosh of the force of the air shake the car as that tanker truck just barely made it past us.