Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Let’s get this rolling

With pre-departure training only five days away my first blog post is long overdue.

I want to start blogging with something that I will probably not be able to do while in Malawi, post a video. 

As I begin to experiment with journaling about Malawi, an African country I realize that this puts me in the company of a number of writers before me such as Joseph Conrad and and Isak Dinesen who have written both interesting, but very controversial topics about this continent. It’s these writings, and the media that have shaped western opinions of “AFRICA”.
Many people’s opinions about any country in Africa are fairly homogenous and one dimensional. The mainstream media, when reporting about “AFRICAN issues” falls into the trap outlined in the video, reporting on conflict, disparity and desperation. This is a trap I hope to avoid no matter what, because it is very tempting to write about Malawi in the way Binyavanga Wainaina describes; it’s dramatic and exciting. I do hope to keep my writing exciting but refuse to do so at the expense of the content. If nothing else I hope that my blog can show the diversity and hope present in Malawi.
Well, I think that’s the closest thing to a mission statement I could ever write, for this blog and my journey these next four months. Now I’d like to charge my readers (so I guess that’s you, whoever you are) to hold me accountable to this. I’d love feedback in the comments, especially if you catch something in on e of these posts that sounds a little like what Binyavanga Wainaina warns against.



  1. Hahaha, man I love the video, sick intro, cool Mission Statement, look forward to reading more soon!

  2. Hey Dan! Great first post. Managing to come up with a mission statement puts you ahead of EWB in general!

    Managing this balance is incredibly tough. How do you think plan to communicate things like extreme poverty (still an important message), while keeping that feeling of hope and opportunity? What kind of stories do you want to collect that are capable of showing both sides?


  3. Hi Dan! This is great! I'm really interested in hearing about what you're experiencing not a modified story that I may like better. Looking forward to your next post!



  4. I hope pre-dep training is going well Dan! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts soon and more about where/what you will be doing overseas in Malawi!

  5. Hey Dan,

    Great mission statement :)

    Don't reserve yourself from including words like 'pity' and 'horrible' when you describe people's reactions to your ukelele playing. Hehe, luv ya anyways (in a friendly way).


  6. Great video and mission statement :) Can't wait to hear how your first couple weeks are going!!!

  7. hope everything is going well over there

  8. Hey Dan!

    It is extremely easy to fall into that trap while your there because there is so much devastation around you. I know that happened to me when I was in Haiti. But you just need to look at the whole picture, the good and the bad! Because most of the time the good will outweigh the bad and you will just be amazed! I am so excited for you and can't wait to hear more :)