David and Lili's World Tour

MALAWI

April 2005 - Malawi

Greetings from Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa !!! Malawi is our favorite country in Africa so far. The people are friendly, the food is good, everything is a bit cheaper, safety is not a primary concern, and swimming in Lake Malawi is fantastic, like a swimming pool with colorful fish. The only downside is that lake snails carry Bilharzia. No big deal. All you have to do it take a pill after your last swim. We hunted down a medical clinic to get this pill, and it was a fascinating scene: hundreds of people and one doctor. He called us to jump to the front of the line. We felt bad about that, but our request was simple: Bilharzia pills.

Travelling with locals in Malawi means crowded mini-buses, as with many sub-Saharan African states. Someone stole the only thing in my pack that wasn't inside my pack-safe, my first-aid kit. I hope it ends up in the right hands.

From lovely Cape Maclear - Monkey Bay, we took the Ilala ferry for two days to Nkhata Bay, where we stayed for a week. The boat was great, expect that strong winds made for rough water, and seasickness. Then we went up to the mountains for some hiking. Now we're headed to Tanzania (where we should finally see an elephant, enshallah).

Note from 2009. I often read about a so-called Malawi Miracle. Back in 2003, there was a drought, and many poor Malawians starved. So in 2005, the government gave out subsidized fertilizer. The rains returned and yields rose, a miracle. Yes, malawi needs fertilizers, but perhaps more importantly, it needs irrigation infrastructure and good roads. Most importantly, Africa needs sustainable agriculture that does not depend on expensive inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, and Monsanto seeds. Good news: Malawi had USD$ 3.2 Billion of its debt cancelled in 2006! Support the Jubilee Debt Campaign. Surely Malawi (and other poor nations) can use the extra money. Malawi also needs free condoms and schools for girls. People seem to forget that the population explosion is perhaps the number one obstacle to achieving a sustainable global economy. Canceling debt is not enough. Africa needs infrastructure! Rich countries need to give more free-money grants, too. It's the right thing to do.

Here's The world according to Monsanto.

Here's National Geographic's take on the food crisis.

Here's the Earth Institute. Great stuff.

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