Saturday, September 27, 2008

Primary School Feeding Program

Primary schools in Malawi have morning feeding program for the children. The porriage is made mostly from maize and added vitamens. It is cooked in large vats and poured into cups that most of the children drink from as they do not have spoons.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Great Days

Sunset Sept. 23

School Visits with Primary School Students

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sunsets and Kids Playing

The sunset is around 530pm every evening

Scale map of the Zomba Pleatue

Children around a secondary school during the day

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shire River and Buying Fish

The Shire river runs through Malawi and provides water for agriculture. Many people make their living by farming in Malawi. People also fish the waters. The fishers use dug out canoes made from hand carved trees, lines with steel hooks, and bowls to bail the water that enters the canoes through leaks.

Here are some pictures from the Shire river, a dug out canoe, a fisherman paddling his canoe, fish for purchase, and driving around with fish in the hot African sun.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Lesson in Brick Making

Many houses in Malawi are made from bricks. This is a very good thing as the people use slash and burn techniques to clear land and for farming. Bricks are locally made by digging up the red clay from the earth, mixing the earth with water, putting it into a brick mold, and then baking the bricks so they get that dark red color- are stronger- and more water resistant. Here are some photos of the brick ovens that people build. The holes in the bottom are where the wood goes for the fire/baking and they are covered in dirt to keep the heat in. After the bricks are fired they are then taken from the pile as needed for building. I really like the locally made concept. Brick making here is relatively inexpensive and creates fire proof housing. One issue with brick making is that it takes the soil from the land and there are some erosion issues associated with this.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Malawi Facts

I love my experience here in Malawi. My time here is eye opening, exciting, and fun. I also have to remember that I live a privilaged existence even here in Malawi. I have housing, I have Internet, and I have a bank account that I can draw from when I need to purchase food. My food choice is limited by what is on the shelves, not by what I can afford.

The following information is from Hands On: The Earth Report: From TVE

In Malawi, 6.3 million people are defined as poor, which means that almost two-thirds of the country’s population are unable to fulfil their basic economic, political, social, psychological, and physiological needs.

Pervasive Poverty
Poverty in Malawi is widespread, deep and severe. It is caused by a number of factors, including low levels of education, poor health status (including widespread HIV/AIDS), lack of off-farm employment, rapid population growth and gender inequalities. The country ranked 162 out of 175 in the Human Development Index (HDI) of the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Human Development Report 2003. The HDI measures achievements in terms of life expectancy, educational attainment and adjusted real income. The rural population are disproportionately affected by these problems, with 67 per cent of rural people below the poverty line compared to 54 per cent of those in urban areas. With 90 per cent of Malawi’s population living in rural areas, and because poverty is more pervasive in rural areas, 91.3 per cent of the poor live in rural areas.

A household from Kumongo village, Lilongwe
Malikesi, of the Kumongo village, mentions that January and February are the worst months of the year because of food shortages and a scarcity of money. To cope with this situation he works harder in his firewood business. He makes two trips a day on his bicycle selling firewood in Lilongwe. If he is still unable to make ends meet, he seeks help from his relatives. If they are unable to help, he goes to his friends. Any amount he borrows has to be repaid in full – no instalments. His wife has reciprocal relationships with her neighbours. Salt is shared without having to return it. However, a bar of soap or a plate of maize flour has to be returned.
(Source: Shah et al., 2002)

Health problems pose a serious threat to the ability of the rural population to raise themselves out of poverty. Life expectancy at birth has been falling, reaching as low as 39 years in 2000. This is partly due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with an estimated 16 per cent of the population infected. Infant, child and maternal mortality rates are high by global standards. In 2000, infant and under-five mortality rates were estimated to be 104 and 189 deaths per 1000 live births. This is caused in large part by a lack of access to adequate health services, demonstrated by the fact that health workers attend only 43 per cent of births. Children in Malawi are generally malnourished. In 2000, almost half of the children under the age of 5 were found to have a low height for their age (stunted). The poor consume only 66 per cent of the recommended daily calorie requirement.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Morning National Anthem

Girls Coming to Our Meeting

Outdoor Classroom

Daily School Routine

Map of a School

Children In Classroom

Classroom Saying

Classroom Example

Social Studies Wall

Kids Looking in the Door and Our Truck

Field Experience

I've been traveling by 4x4 truck to schools and villages in the Zomba region. We have a 4x4 truck and the majority of the roads are dirt- so in essence everyday we go off-roading. The rains come in two months and everything turns to mud- that is going to be interesting.
I'm enjoying visiting schools and meeting the girls in the program. Here are some shots of our team- an American researcher who I will be taking over for, and three Malawian research assistants.