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3365Malawi visit

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  • Scott
    Sep 2, 2002
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      Hi all- got back from Malawi yesterday. I feel extremely lucky to have
      had the opportunity to go back again, and even luckier to have lived in
      a small town where I can re-connect with so many old friends. I'll start
      with the small details that perhaps only a few of us might appreciate:

      I exchanged at 78 MK to the $US.

      Minimum market price for minerals: MK 16.

      Fanta has 2 new flavors: grape & pineapple!

      Diet Coke is now available across the country.

      I hadn't had a Coca-pina or a Cherry-plum in a while.

      Mzuzu:
      Police road blocks on all the main roads in and out of town.
      Peace Corps now has a volunteer house in Mzuzu.
      CCAP Guest House rates: now "remodeled" into 3 options. Self
      contained-MK 750. 2 bed rooms-450. Dorm style/hostel-250.
      The Portuguese guy who owned the Tropicana is dead.
      Almost all the dogs we saw in Mzuzu were on leashes.
      Mzuzu University & Mzuzu Central Hospital both up and running. Located
      on the road past the airport heading towards Kaka Hotel.
      Due to decentralization, most "regional" government offices are defunct
      (no more RHO!).
      The hamburgers at Burger King are great, in my opinion.
      Road from Chiweta to Karonga almost fully tarred and completed-nice, but
      about 5 years too late.

      Lilongwe:
      It has been a while now since pc has had it's own volunteer house in
      Lilongwe. But to many of us, the Ivy was our place in Lilongwe.
      It is greatly expanded now, and even has a pool and bar. It is now
      called ''Korean Garden Lodge." Check out their website at www.kglodge.net
      All the Protea hotels seem to have been sold to Le Meridean.
      I'm told they still have Wednesday night burgers and volleyball at the
      Shack-but apparently now dominated by expat teens.

      Regarding the hunger situation:
      I can only really speak of what I saw in Northern Malawi, particularly
      the Chitipa/Karonga region. For the most part, it seems that people
      still have maize, even in the outer villages... although I saw no
      roasted/boiled maize or eggs on the roadside... still plenty of
      potatoes, vegetables, and fish for sale though. Mice season is over, but
      they're selling those tiny birds. Maize is still available in the market
      at about MK200 per tin in Chitipa.
      It was difficult to tell how much worse it is than the "normal"
      August/Septembers we all know when people began to run low on their
      maize stocks. It could run out soon, but I just can't tell... one way to
      tell if food security is getting worse is if people are selling their
      items of value such as radios bicycles, etc., but I didn't hear too much
      of this.

      At the district hospital, they are already distributing maize, based on
      low weight-age. They were weighing babies all day, and the amamas were
      taking about a tin of maize each. I'm no food security expert, but I was
      wondering why they are doing this now when the maize situation in the
      North seems not to be as serious, and there is still maize on the
      market--not to mention all the other foods that seem somewhat plentiful.
      I hope they have some left in a few months when the need is more acute.

      I do hear some horror stories from the Southern Region, and it would be
      nice to hear someone's perspective from this area. I don't want to give
      the impression that things are not as bad as they say in the news. An
      often told tale says that some PCVs down south have had a tough time
      coping- mothers trying to give them babies so they could be fed, and so on.

      Anyway, this is what I saw, and I'm glad that it wasn't as bad up North
      as I expected. Would be nice to hear what's going on down South, though.
      This would be consistent with what people told me in Zambia recently,
      that the situation is more serious below the Lilongwe-Lusaka line.

      Scott
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