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Friday, October 5, 2012

On Being Back in Malawi...

Five years ago I started this blog for one reason and one reason only: to offer a Malawian blog, written by a Malawian who is just a regular world citizen. Not an exotic, strange, different individual...just 'one-of-us'.  Glad to have found many other Malawi blogs by Malawians or Malawiphiles. Glad also that when googling 'Malawi' nowadays it's not just the awful stuff that comes up. But increasingly diverse options.  I should be careful to note that there are plenty of awful things that should be told...but there are also plenty of pretty neat things to tell about Malawi. Speaking very generally, that's what makes us regular world citizens, isn't it?  Knowing that our immediate world isn't all good... and it isn't all bad. 

I left Malawi about a couple of years after I started the blog. I didn't want to leave because I had wanted to make my so-called MARK on my country as a twenty-something. Alas, scholarships come once in a life-time and off I went. Had wanted to return right after studies but sigh, the love of one's life comes once in a life-time so off again I went to Europe. Being back alone (without my better half) for the first time and being back as a researcher 'from abroad' has brought a lot of mixed feelings. Some things have stayed the same and some things, for better or worse, have changed. I have changed. Perhaps, then, the purpose of this blog will change too to reflect all the changes I have gone through.  I might have grasped tonight what direction to take for this blog. Time permitting, an opinion piece on society on a regular basis sounds good.  c u in the next entry :-)

Monday, July 16, 2012

100 Days post-Bingu




It has def. been a long time since I posted.  The usual things happened in between: relocation, papers to write, research proposal to submit, a wedding to prepare...my wedding. OK, I know they weren't the usual things to do. I am very grateful to have experienced the past half-year but sorry to have been lax in my blogging.

Bingu's demise and the events after that have been on my mind this past half-year. From mixed messages (the press giving conflicting reports about his death) back in April, to the T.B. Joshua speculation, to J.B. being made president and now to the tussle between DPP die-hards, democrats, the PP and the rest of us on which way is Malawi's way forward....it has been quite a ride.  On the positive side, no one's speaking of autocracy reigning in Malawi and on the negative side, it's only been a hundred days, not enough time to see progress.  But I have come along a case study of my own in light of these events.  

Around the time of Bingu's demise, a Malawian woman applied for asylum in the UK citing anti-gay legislation in Malawi as a concern for herself (her newly-'gay' self) and fears of female genital mutilation (fgm) as a concern for her girl-children (I'm yet to hear where evidence for that comes from but anyway, I"m no know it all :-o).  Thanks to a fellow blogger who gave me links to the story, I followed it up a little. It was an interesting story no doubt. It became more interesting when I met someone who actually knows her - she told me the whole story and as I had expected, it's more a case of 'economic asylum' than homophobia and FGM. Infuriating as it is to see my country's name dragged through the mud to serve someone's personal economic agenda, I had to admit that things were not in ship-shape back home. there were a hundred and one things out of order. And as someone who blames both international and local econo-politico-market governance, I KIND of understood her actions, I mean, in a way. Ok, to a certain extent.  

So when Bingu had a cardiac arrest and was replaced by a human rights activist FEMALE who also happens to have a keen interest of recharging the economy, I am curious as to what happens next for this woman. On one hand, I don't know her prospects in Malawi.  Maybe she has little education and chances of a job in Malawi that would afford her the lifestyle her children have grown accustomed to are very little. On the other hand I feel that Malawians have a lot to be proud of, yes, we are still a relatively young nation but exploiting Malawi's weaknesses to obtain residence in other countries is something that is not only detrimental to our national development but also to the personal development of the children of parents who do such things.

So, not that we are 100 days post-Bingu (may his soul rest in peace), how's about a dispensation that will strive to facilitate an atmosphere that will not only attract Malawians to stay and contribute positively but also attract those abroad to return and help us be the Malawi we hope for.

pics: world camp for kids, Malawi

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Road Less Travelled....Again

When we were children they showed us books of what it would be like...what it would be like when we were grown, what it would be like when we went abroad, what it would be like if we learned our sums and letters, what it would be like when we had money....and some of us believed it.

Until  we found out that most things are not in the books.  A book is usually an A5 size document, everything is captured to fit into it just so, there is not enough space to clutter in all of life´s realities so we are told the good stuff as children.  We grow, we still believe that only the good stuff should exist.  So we write our own books (or blogs) and edit out the clutter of our lives and so our lives go on.  But where do we leave the clutter?

In our heads, in our hearts and it pours out at every provocation.  Some through tears, like the Spanish girl yesterday...only a few questions about her ex-boyfriend and in tears she was.  I thought to myself ´I am not that soft, I can´t cry at the drop of a hat like her´.  True, but I have my own reactions as well, at the slightest provocation, the right provocation and a flood of emotion comes out.  Anger, bitterness, accusations, blame, fear....

Is it the person who is gifted at pushing my buttons? Or is it inevitable that they will push my buttons because they spend so much time with me in an environment where everybody else is a literal stranger?

I don´t know,  it is indeed the road less travelled.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The road less travelled

With age one sees things. A twelve year old has seen enough of homework to show less excitement at the prospect of going to school than a six year old whose hard work is to paint,  colour-in and play.  I am not old but I have seen enough of life to see that things are born, they grow and they face wear and tear.

Too much wear and tear they die, average wear and tear and they change, sometimes for the good and sometimes for worse.

As I grow and observe patterns in myself that I detested in the adults around me as a child; I grow to accept that I am changing.  It is discouraging most times but I have to dig within myself and find the reason to push on.  There is still plenty I have not seen and plenty I have not learned to give up trying.  People think the religious are weak minded, I think not.  It takes courage to realise we carry burdens and even more courage to acknowledge that someone we do not see lightens those burdens for us. Praise Him.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Malawian Chiefs and the Kwacha Devaluation

It has been a while since I wrote something specific about Malawi. So much has happened in the past few years that it is difficult to pull the threads together. Perhaps a good place to start is a topic  I read with interest that local chiefs in Malawi are protesting the forced devaluation of the Kwacha and in response,  the local professionally trained economists have lambasted them as ignorant on the topic and should best remain on their chief's stools with their mouths shut.

Why this is, I do not understand. Isn't it time that economists welcomed everyone to the debate, that way we can all appreciate better exactly HOW global economics work without calling someone ignorant on the topic. After all, the devaluation will affect us all... just my small thoughts for the day....

Monday, February 6, 2012

A lesson learned

Writing from the deep side of tired! After 7 hours of learning important things, two hours of planned socialising, two hours of important phone/skype calls and the rest doing usual every day things like catching up with news (strange that as a teen I always loathed the news!) I am completely fatigued!

It was an interesting weekend, one in which my fascinations on race, development and theology intertwined.  I learned that people believe very strong things about these issues. Some time ago I believed or tolerated some of the things I heard over the weekend.

I don't anymore and it's a lonely island when you find that fewer and fewer people see things the way you do.  I am grateful though for those that I can discuss these issues with without anyone of us drawing a sword.  But I am more grateful that I only think differently now because people were tolerant of me when I thought I knew it all.  I remember Andy handing me a stack of books on these issues and me, looking at the cover and synopsis and deciding I AM NOT READING it DON'T CONFUSE ME WITH THE FACTS!! God bless that Andy and others like him.  Shame on me though for missing out on a lot of good reading! I HAVE A LOT TO LEARN! :-)