Monday, June 10, 2013

Getting back to blogging

Nine months. That is how long it has taken since the last substantive entry on this blog. I apologize to all readers for this silence. I know nine months is such a long time - it is an entire academic year; a period long enough for farmers to plant and harvest their crop; long enough for a mother to conceive and give birth to a child. A baby born since my last post might actually be learning to speak. I have no excuse and can only apologize to my readers.
So much has happened during the last nine months- some good, some bad and some ugly. Through it all, I am grateful for the gift of life.
Great Hall Complex at Chanco- My office is on the third flour
I returned to Malawi in mid October of 2012 and rejoined the faculty at the University of Malawi, Chancellor College. Chanco has changed very little: the classrooms remain bare and mostly derelict; there is a shortage of office space; the library, which was built in the early 70s for a student population of under 500, now has to cater for 5,000+ undergraduate and graduate students with very little resource allocation for purchasing new books. The Internet on campus remains frustratingly slow (although I now have very fast wi-fi connection on my home network, thanks to Burco's wimax system). Oh, and the University of Malawi salary remains such an embarrassment!
I have also kept up with my Afrobarometer work as Fieldwork Operations Manager. With 34 surveys completed, we now only have one more country before we reach our target of 35 countries- a major achievement as this represents  75% increase form the 20 countries that were covered in the Round 4 surveys.
For the most part, it has been great getting back and operating from Malawi. I no longer have to make the long trans-Atlantic flights between the USA and Africa. That said, I have increasingly found that it is a lot more difficult to travel within Africa from Africa than it is flying from the US. Flight schedules within Africa are a lot more difficult while securing visas is another major pain as there are few embassies around.
My apologies once more to followers of this blog for my long silence. It is such a shame that at a time when I have first hand experience of Malawi politics, I have kept quite. I am back and will be writing and sharing my thoughts as the country prepares for the 2014 general elections. Stay tuned. Ooh,m and follow me on twitter @BoniDulani