Thursday, November 17, 2011

Malawi 101

Since accepting the posting, I have often been asked where Malawi is. I would be lying if I said that I didn't have to look at a map myself before boarding the plane!

Malawi is a small (slightly smaller than Pennsylvania), landlocked country in South-Eastern Africa. It is bordered by Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania. A former British colony, it became independent in 1964. It is known as ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’ for its friendly people and warm hospitality. It is also known as ‘Africa for beginners’ because of its relative safety to other African nations and small size – a good place for first time travellers to this diverse continent. 

It has a mostly rural population, one of the highest birth rates in the world, and also a high death-rate due mostly to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS (currently estimated at 10.6% of the population). 

The life expectancy at birth is 51 years (only 11 countries have a shorter life expectancy). The HIV prevalence rate is the 9th highest in the world, which is of course inextricably linked to the short life expectancy. It is also the 10th poorest country in the world as per a 2010 business insider report.

If you care to know more, here is the link to the CIA world fact book:

Malawi's Location in Africa - Please Excuse the Old Map

I would also like to say that as much as I will write honestly and candidly about my experience here, I will have to take into consideration that I am in a place with a different type of democratic political space than in Canada.

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