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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Welcome to Land of Smiling Faces

Welcome to Malawi. I mean my space and wonderful internet experience, where one can spend time explore various issues as they come up in relation to my country. I have other three other blogs but they are not frequently updated as my other two or three sites-guess right, My space, Face book and Taking It Global.
I am currently a Fellow at Harvard University and on the edge of embarking on a 4 month Field work trip to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Guess right, my home Malawi and re-look at the issue of Health and how we are doing.
The Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University is the oldest and the most prestigious Journalism fellowship and we will explore the issues that come from it later in the year.
However, my writing and focus has always remained on this Southern Africa Beuatiful nation. The Land of smiling faces. The Land of hard working and humble people.
It is more than the story of poverty, hopelessness and dispair.
Visiting Ntchisi Trading area, loud music, dancing men and women in its pub will tell you of a happy and freeer people than those faces I have met on the streets of Boston, New York, London, Hong Kong and even Havana and Madrid.
A Malawian in a minibus will start talking to his neighbour immediately, from sports gossip, political comedies that have come with our democracy to shouting to stubborn mini-bus drivers who speed 'wautali' for the next return trip.
We talk of our lousy football and its hero's and go and cheer them united and hopefully that they will beat Morroco or Zimbabwe. Our media hype for the team has always been patriotic, come Monday, the papers have nothing else but a reflection of the anger that we feel after loosing an important game.
Coaches have gone much faster than they came. Players are quickly forgotten too if they fail to score. Thats the free and happy Malawi.
I have had only limited luck and only with the old mothers to talk anything on airplanes, subway or buses. Everyone outside Malawi or Africa is too busy to accomodate any talk.
My best experience remains that while I was bombarded with 9 subjects, I went through Kamuzu Banda's primary school where Geography, Health, Science, English (which was grammar and language and writing) , agriculture, arithmetic, history, religion, art and craft or (handwork as we proudly coined it) and the favourate Music where singing 'aphunzitsi nga njiru- ankaniza ntombera mwana, mwana akati atakase, ankaniza ntombera mwana" was stopped by Teachers immediately it started. It was a way of hitting back at Teachers for all the harsh and hard work the punished us. But You learn in the West, many are too ignorant of the larger world as the primary and scondary syllabusses are limited in terms of child development.
I love my country and will always be proud of its people. The Leadership of Malawi has all but one good feature; rhetoric. So for the purposes of my blog, I rather concentrate on the great people of this great nation. Africa's most freindly people, proudly called the Warm Heart of Africa. I am proud to belong to the traditions of all Malawi. From Ingoma to Gule wa nkulu. I believe using the happy and disarming smile that makes a mark of Malawi, we can develop a better understanding of issues that sorround us. The issues that we need to tackle with urgency and those that we do not need. I know the size of the cabinet is a hot issue now and as of today, But I rather talk of an alarming story of how many Malawians will die because UNICEF failed to procure drugs. I am told, out of 8-million dollars worth of drugs required from Juy 1, 2006 to 30 June 2006 less than 2 million dollars woth of drugs have been procured. Unfortunately those that have the money want us to believe otherwise. Then I am still interested in Government reaction over the basic issues of racism where Central High School can with all audicity tell us that black Teachers deserve low salaries since they can jump into mini-buses and sleep in slums while their Asian counter parts who have similar qualifications and teaching the same subjects gets 500% more. I thought Human Rights NGO's will sue based on the constitution which des not allow discrmination. These to me are the urgent issues. Health, Education and the inequality that exists in our country. My first posting will be about salaries of Chief Executives that range between one million and five million kwacha while they pay their guards seven thousand kwacha's. Where is the land heading? Today our sisters have married all sorts of 'genocide pepetrators to conmen from the other side of Africa" and our passport once respected by the value of its great citizens, has find itself in the hands of all manner of criminals. Who makes decisions in Immigration. How are these people in the country. I have worked in Government and Private sector, one open thing that is very true is that between 1994 to 2004 we lost control as a nation and opened the country to abuse, foreign and local. Lets talk of these challenges and let us debate candidly. I have my time with the country's donors. USAID is the first on my list.
Welcome to the Land of Smiling faces-Malawi

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