I’ve had a really good week of learning here at Opportunity International Bank of Malawi. The staff at OIBM was extremely helpful and accommodating – they put up with all of my silly questions without complaint. The management team is extremely strong & they appear to get along really well.
And like everyone else, after a full week of work I was ready for the weekend. I start the journey home tomorrow (I’m so, so very excited to see Missy & the kids), but today was a free day – nothing on the schedule. I spent the morning buying the obligatory souvenirs for the kiddos and I decided the afternoon would best be spent playing some golf. There is one 18-hole course in Malawi and it’s in Lilongwe (I was told there are several 9-hole courses throughout the country). So….I borrowed a set of clubs from the guest house where I’m staying, called the driver and headed over to Lilongwe Golf Club. Interesting side note – my driver this week has been a guy named Labana – really nice guy. He’s never played golf, never been on a golf course, doesn’t know ANYTHING about golf — and I mean anything BUT he does know who Tiger Woods is!
I didn’t tee off until about 2:30 so I decided that I’d only play 9 holes. They wouldn’t let me play alone so they paired me up with a young man named Adam. Adam is 24 years old, on the Malawian National Golf team, makes his living as a golfer & is really, really good. And he’s got a pretty good set up at the course – he plays free golf whenever he wants & somehow I had to pay him for the privilege of having him as a playing partner. He was a nice guy & gave me some pointers around the course (those who have played with me know I love to play but am a terrible golfer). Also, getting a caddie was mandatory. My caddie’s name was Wilson and he’s been caddying at this course since 1975 – 34 years! Wilson is a quiet man who knows every square inch of the course. I don’t know how old he was but he had eagle eyes – I spent a lot of my time outside the fairways and he found every ball rather quickly.
The outing was great – just what I needed to help me relax. The weather was warm…but not too warm. The golf was inexpensive by U.S. standards. The drinks were cheap. The only think that stunk was my golf (although I did manage a par on #2). And having now played golf on four continents I have to confess two things: 1) I can conclude that I officially suck – it doesn’t matter where I am on the globe…I flat out stink 2) this was actually the first time I’ve not taken a golf cart. There are no golf carts & I gotta be honest I enjoyed walking the course (well…half a course). I found it gave a lot more time for talking and getting to know each other.
An interesting side note is that Adam is an OIBM customer. I told him why I was in Malawi & he was quick to let me know that he is an account holder. He showed me his smart card & said he gets great service from the bank. His only complaint (which was not the first time I heard it) was that the ATMs can be down too often.
Here are some photos from the outing.