Back to Malawi
I have two suitcases sitting in my bedroom, one at 49.85 lbs, the other at 49.6. Most of the weight in the suitcases is from glass petri dishes, powdered growth media, sterile plant growth pouches and a printer. The few clothes I am taking are crammed into a carry-on bag. The rest of my belongings are packed into plastic boxes sitting in a friends garage, besides my furniture, which I am lending to the person renting my room. After finishing a Masters degree, publishing a paper, writing a proposal and taking my PhD comprehensive exams and orals, I am finally heading back to Malawi! It only took me 17 months! This time, I go for the whole growing season. I will be on my own. I
In less than a week I will land. I am excited, nervous, happy and apprehensive. Since I have left, Malawi has gone through some troubles. There are fuel and foreign exchange shortages, the government is preparing a budget without the help of foreign aid (which made up around 40% of the national budget), and there is concern that this will damage food security even further. All this lead to nationwide protests against the current government in July. In addition, whereas in my previous visit, I was there to watch and learn and gather information, this time I actually have to do something. And while I know, more or less what awaits me, I know that there is absolutely no way of predicting the our path – especially when it involves one or more of the following: travel to developing countries, agriculture, weather, marginally-stable political systems, and/or research. So with that in mind, here I go!