The Houses Down the Hill

mcdonaldid

— By Mcdonald from Malawi

Malawi is one of the countries in Africa which experiences disasters every year. Floods and draughts are great enemies to the country with interrupted developmental goals every year. In 2015 only, 146 people went missing and other discovered dead after heavy floods hit many districts across the country. Parts of the country known to be more vulnerable to disasters are those in lower shire in the South and some districts in Northern parts of Malawi due to their geographical position. But in 2015, an unusual phenomenon happened; some other districts that were not known to be disaster prone areas were also hit by fatal floods.

Among those new declared areas of disasters were Blantyre –where I live- and other districts in the Eastern region of the country. Blantyre is a commercial city of Malawi. Most of its topography is mountainous which makes it strange to be affected by floods.

Last year it was not floods on flat land that killed people but rocks, trees and other objects carried down from hills by running water. It was houses built on hills, along river banks and on foot of hills brought down and swept away by speedy water and rocks. In response to that catastrophic time, both national and international organisations, governments, individual and other groups pumped in millions in form of disaster relief support to affected communities.

A big question remains: Instead of splashing relief items to the so called ‘disaster victims’, shouldn’t these assistance bodies deal with what is actually causing these human made disasters?

This is 2016 and Malawi has already experienced disasters with the very first rains in some parts of the country. On November 17th  I had a chance to tour Bangwe community in Blantyre, where issues of deforestation is a major challenge despite some few nongovernmental organisations striving to promote reforestation in the area.

One of them is called Sustainable Rural Growth and Development Initiative (SRGDI). This organisation is working with members of Bangwe Community to address issues affecting the community as a result of deforestation. The community is comprised of two villages; Mwamadi and Wisiki. The villages are at the base of Bangwe Mountain that has lost its natural vegetation and beauty due to human activities. I think that the mountain is now retaliating by posing disasters on communities with floods, strong winds and waterborne diseases outbreaks.

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Hey Trump! Africa Has Something to Tell You

We asked seven YaLa members from across the continent what they wish they could say to the new American President.

  1. I hope 20 January 2017 is an opportunity for you to cool down hearts of those in fear as what would happen to them. Be president of everyone as the champion of Democracy.”

“Hey Trump! Congratulations for your victory in the 2016 Presidential Elections and for being America’s 45th President! Americans have spoken on behalf of the World through voting. Much has been spoken before, during and after the elections but what the World should do now is accept the current sphere for the World betterment. Why do I say the ‘World’ in place of America? Because America is for everyone and when things go wrong in America everyone on earth is affected in one way of the other; being it economically, politically and so on. I know you were the victorious as a result of what you promised the World to fulfill. Yes, some of the promises were good and others may not go well with other quarters of the World. I hope 20 January 2017 is an opportunity for you to cool down hearts of those in fear as what would happen to them. Be president of everyone as the champion of Democracy. Let the World enjoy America with good faith.”

– McDonald, 27, Malawi

  1. “Believe in yourself, there is no limit to what you can achieve in life and always remember that if Hillary can reach that height, you can too.”

“First to Hillary Clinton, I have to congratulate you for your beliefs and for the good work you have done for America in the last few years under the president Barack Obama government and I must say you have done a very good job. To the ladies out there supporting Hillary, thanks for your courage and the passion you showed to promote Hillary to become the 45th America’s President which didn’t eventually work out. My advice to you is that violence isn’t needed because nothing can stop Donald Trump from ruling. I can just tell you to believe in yourself, there is no limit to what you can achieve in life and always remember that if Hillary can reach that height, you can too. To America’s 45th President: Donald Trump, congratulations, you deserve to rule the nation not only from your great manifesto but also for your inspiring winning speech. Please remember your promises, help fight immortalizes and help make America great again under you. God bless Trump, God bless America.”

– Dada John, 24, Nigeria

  1. Guess what Trump, we are Africans, not failures. We will sail, and not sink. We, like the United States of America, will invent and innovate our way into high stake prosperity. So do yourself a favor and be a part of our success story.”

“Hey Trump, congratulations for your electoral victory at the polls. I must say that you were not my favorite candidate as my feminist perspective gravitated towards your female opponent, but I am delighted that the majority had their way. You were also not the favorite of many young Africans because of your proposed migration policies, but I wish to tell you that Africa has come of age. We are not that jungle waiting in the dark for re-colonization, we are off to an A-game. While you perfect your plans to deport African migrants, I am so optimistic that these migrants will come home and be the pioneers of our home grown technology. Us, the young Africans back home, we are not folding our arms and waiting for your foreign aid. We are building our human capital. We have realized that our future is not in the extractive industry and while we may not have the best leaders, believe me Trump, someday very soon, Africa will shut her doors to Western influence in readiness to sink or sail. And guess what Trump, we are Africans, not failures. We will sail, and not sink. We, like the United States of America, will invent and innovate our way into high stake prosperity. So do yourself a favor and be a part of our success story.”

– Adebisi, 33, Nigeria

  1. I am looking forward to seeing you implementing everything you said as it will sure show you are a man of your word.”

“Dear Trump…Congratulations for the win…. From the first day you showed interest to run as President I preferred you only because am a fan of your books and I feel your approach towards Africa will make us grow. The fact that you portray us as a poor bunch who can’t survive without Aid , please know that we are a very rich continent blessed with all sorts of resources but it’s people like you who have brainwashed us into thinking we are poor. I am looking forward to seeing you implementing everything you said as it will sure show you are a man of your word. As an African I am not offended by your words as they make me realize that my life matter and I’ve work to do with it.”

– Lena, 30, Malawi

  1. “I congratulate you not because you somehow managed to insult ‘everyone’ and still win the hearts of many. I congratulate you because you proved to the world that even a multitude will always give way to a man who knows where he is going”

“Respect for others especially our elders is one value most Africans are brought up with. So, I won’t come here trying to call you Trump like I was scolding my neighbor’s cat. Hello Uncle Trump, Congratulations on leading a mass rebellion and revolution on the Government of the United States as we’ve come to know it. I congratulate you not because you somehow managed to insult ‘everyone’ and still win the hearts of many. I congratulate you because you proved to the world that even a multitude will always give way to a man who knows where he is going. To say that I was heartbroken that Hillary Clinton lost is an understatement. Not that she is related to my ancestors or that we must have been kinsmen in a past life, the attack on her gender despite being a round peg in a round hole awakened the feminist in me. Thank you for the call to do more for girls all over the world. Oh! And if you really decide to send home all my kinsmen who are ‘stealing all your jobs’, don’t leave my grandfather and his monkeys out. After all, it is a farmer who wants to steal yams that remains on the farm long after his mates have found their way back home.”

– Anuoluwapo, 24, Nigeria

  1. Please don’t lose sight of the real task ahead, and you shouldn’t forget those workers whose jobs you promised to restore. Forget the idea of building fences or any other such barricade or constrictions, the world is so intertwined that nobody can stand all alone.”

“Dear Trump, Your victory came as a huge surprise to many around the world. The margin was reasonably significant and I take it to be a clear reflection of what Americans want. Congratulations on your hard-earned victory! As you prepare to strut into the White House in January, please remember that Americans are watching you and people in all corners of the earth are looking on to see what you’ll make of the opportunity offered you to serve. Please don’t lose sight of the real task ahead, and you shouldn’t forget those workers whose jobs you promised to restore. Forget the idea of building fences or any other such barricade or constrictions, the world is so intertwined that nobody can stand all alone. Muslims, Christians, traditionalists, — plus any other religion one professes to follow — we are all one and there’s no gains in fanning the flames of disunity or division. American can only be great again if everyone is United, if there’s equality and freedom and hope for people toiling every day to better their lot. Peace breeds progress as much as unity drives cooperation.”

– Linus, 23, Nigeria

  1. Now, bring on the surprise, Mr. Trump! Desperation for power can make a person do surprising things; maybe we will see a new Trump in the aftermath of this fierce election.”

“Hey Trump, the rest of the world woke up in shock and awe as USA decided to create a NEW WORLD ORDER by granting you a stunning victory that many -like me- find it very difficult to comprehend. Majority rule simply prevailed for a ‘’Trumping’’ Trump-Pence leadership. Suffice it to say, once the ‘’shock fever’’ passes, we would surely be privy to glimpses of some rational explanation for such reality. Honestly, I am bed-stricken with ‘’shock’’, but, still holding onto my analytic lenses. A Trump government must be based on working together, social justice and economic renewal, rather than sowing fear and division as cried by many. And the solutions we offer have to improve the lives of everyone, not pit one group of people against another. From where I sit, I can only wish Americans the very best of luck in this new era because they need it in the next 4 years or more. They have made their choice. The urgent necessity is now for us all to work across continents including my Ghana to tackle our common fair share of the global challenges facing us. In the words of John F. Kennedy, a former USA president, ‘’Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty’’.  Now, bring on the surprise, Mr. Trump! Desperation for power can make a person do surprising things; maybe we will see a new Trump in the aftermath of this fierce election.”

– Theodora, 27, Ghana