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.