Anders Bekeken

100 Places To Remember: Lilongwe District, Malawi

Geschreven op 20-4-2010 - Erik van Erne. Geplaatst in Natuur Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

100places to rememberPicturesque Villages in a Harsh Countryside. In 1859, when the British explorer and missionary Dr David Livingstone became the first European to set foot in Malawi, the African Bantu tribes had already lived in the area for more than a thousand years.

Among the first things to attract Dr Livingstones attention were the bomas. The fortified African villages had palisades around the dwellings to protect them against wild animals, hostile tribes and local slave traders. Since then, the Bantu term boma has been used to describe any kind of fence, from a colonial fortress to a makeshift shelter.

In the small villages of modern-day Malawi, the picturesque bomas are grouped to safeguard the crops, harvest and livestock. Two things they cannot protect against, however, are the spread of HIV/AIDS and drought.

The 14 million inhabitants of Malawi are among the poorest people in the world, with 85% of them living in rural areas as smallholder subsistence farmers, dependent on crops like maize, sorghum and cassava as their staple foods. Up to two-thirds of the population live below the national poverty line, unable to produce enough crops to cover household needs because of drought and floods, and depending heavily on foreign aid.

More than a million people here are also living with HIV/AIDS, and the epidemic is rapidly escalating, leaving many households short of adult manpower.

By 2050, global warming is projected to increase temperatures by 2-3°C, change the rainfall patterns and reduce seasonal water availability. This could cause serious droughts that would affect more than 10 million people in rural parts of Malawi. Together with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, this would cause a downwards spiral for the already vulnerable people of Malawi.

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