Published: January 29th 2012January 29th 2012
I noticed this T Shirt for sale in a market. It came from an American school and had been covered with messages of good will from fellow students with marker pen. And now it has found its way here. Everything has a value.
I hope you are all well and that the dreaded month of January has not proved too difficult.
Sorry it has been so long since my last post, Malawian internet is both rare and pretty expensive so doing blogs and such like can take a long time. In fact everything in Malawi takes time, I spent a whole day on buses just get to a working ATM machine.
I am also sorry if I have not replied to any of your messages. I have read them now and will reply soon. You know I appreciate them so.
My New Year got off to a bit of a disastrous start, I managed to pick up some sort of food poisoning so my New Years Celebrations were spent, alone, in bed, with a bucket of vomit for company. Booo
I was alone apart for a few minutes in the night when some local ruffian climbed up my balcony, crept in to my room while I asleep and stole all my stuff, bags, watch, camera, the lot. They even took my old muddy sandals because in a
The burglars approach.
country like Malawi, everything, and I mean everything, has a value. This was illustrated when, a week later my replacement sandals were stolen from outside my room. Two pairs of sandals in a week.
Now, is this a reflection on Malawians as a people? Well it is to a small degree, but you have to understand the levels of desperation in that country at the moment. I guess the temptation to steal from rich Muzungus is too much for some people. It’s the same “they can afford it” mentality that shop lifters and insurance fraudsters have. And to a degree, we can afford it.
Malawi is, by all accounts, a country in crisis. Insane inflation, a crippling fuel shortage and an increasingly devaluating currency. Malawi could be a developed country, there is no structural reason for the poverty, but it is blighted by bad leadership and corruption.
In his wisdom the President decided to buy a private jet for $20,000,000. Now, because Malawi is about as credit worth as Greece, the seller would only accept payment in US Dollars. This cleared the entire economy of US$, which in turn meant that
And then he shimmied up the balcony post.
fuel importers could not buy fuel from neighboring countries. No fuel, no imports, no electricity for generators. It’s a mess.
The second consequence purchasing the Jet was a row with the UK Government who suggested that perhaps the money could be spent wiser, the result of the diplomatic spat was a cutting a Aid to Malawi thus further removing US$ from the economy.
So even though Malawi was the definition of a Banana Republic, it was still a charming place. The locals are a very nice bunch and the Lake is stunning, so despite the difficulties I still enjoyed myself. I caught the weekly ferry to a couple of small Islands called Chizamulu and Likoma, the ferry itself was an experience sleeping out on the deck. The islands were for me, the highlight of my time in this country, remote and very relaxed, if you come to Malawi, make sure you visit them.
I have now left Malawi and have headed straight to Johannesburg in South Africa via Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Cor and indeed Blimy, the contrast is pretty severe. JoBurg is a modern and, in many places, a very affluent
I admire his bravery. Especially when he realized I was in the room, he still had the had the courage to take everything.
City. There are paved roads…and new cars….and shopping Malls. Malls filled with shops that actually sell things.
In Malawi shops sell things people need, mainly Maize and Washing Powder. In JoBurg the shops sell things people want, there is a difference.
Yesterday I spent ten minutes staring, slack jawed and confused, at a whole aisle in a supermarket dedicated to selling chocolate, hundreds of different types of Chocolate. In Malawi there is no choice, if you walk in to a restaurant you eat what they have, not what you want, and now I am surrounded by restaurants that have huge menus.
I won’t be in JoBurg long, on tuesday I fly to the US of A to visit my Uncle for a couple of weeks. Out of the madness and back to civilization proper.
There are few photos on this post, due to the theft of my camera. I have stolen some pictures from internet, I hope no one minds.
All my love.
There are more photos below