A Series on Religion, Part 4: The J-Word

12 Oct 2010

In high school, I learned my kind had a name: Cashews. We were that not-so-rare half-breed, part Catholic, part Jewish. ... read more

> View All Posts



HOW TO: Drink (and Brew) Beer Like a Malawian

As the carton moves down the line of bar patrons, my anxiety mounts. I have seen Chibuku Shake-Shake packets everywhere—at bars, on roadsides, clogging the river—but I have ... read more

22 Feb 2010


SLIDESHOW: Images Of Malawi

A man readies tobacco for auction in the capital Lilongwe. Tobacco is Malawi's primary cash crop, responsible for 70 ... read more

17 May 2010


Out Of School And Into Motherhood

Part of me is angry with Modester. She sits opposite me in the dim one-room house she shares with her husband and infant daughter. AIDS campaign posters plaster the hand-hewn ... read more

31 May 2010

Insider Tips



Make sure you're ready to see in the dark

Power cuts can occur daily in Malawi, and much of the country isn’t even on the grid. Unless you’ve got remarkable night vision, toss a headlamp into your ... read more

19 Oct 2009


Everyone is fine, but you'd better ask anyway

“How are you?” “Fine, and you?” “Fine, and you?” Circular, yes. Optional, no. No matter how rushed you feel, do not omit the simple salutation. The greeting is perfunctory to ... read more

19 Oct 2009
Festivals & Events


Dance in the sand till sunrise

Arguably the biggest event of the year, Lake of Stars is a multi-day music festival held on the shores of Lake Malawi every September or October. Though ticket prices have ... read more

27 Oct 2009
Culture Shock


Hubby hunters, you're in luck

As a foreign woman, get used to hearing the question “Muli pabanja?” This literally translates to “Do you have a family?” but functions more like a marriage proposal. Such propositions ... read more

02 Nov 2009


Texas is in Malawi

To travel like a local, forget the names listed on the map. The capital Lilongwe is known colloquially as “Ls” and Blantyre, Malawi’s largest city, is “BT.” These epithets ... read more

03 Nov 2009
Getting Around


Pedestrians: partner up and be patient

Though roads sometimes have crosswalks, drivers rarely pay attention to pedestrians (or to traffic lights, signs, or laws). You may stand at a street corner for eons before a chance ... read more

09 Nov 2009


Carry your bathroom accoutrements with you

Sanitary conditions in Malawi leave much to be desired — particularly when nature calls. Though you can usually find a flush toilet in urban areas (in rural settings, expect to squat ... read more

09 Nov 2009


Is this a nightclub or a carnival sideshow?

After 3 a.m., when everything in Blantyre has closed, there’s one place to go: Chez Ntemba. Though entry tickets call it an “international dancing club,” the establishment is ... read more

16 Nov 2009


Try a tailor on for size

If you arrive in Malawi and find yourself despairing at your wardrobe, fear not. Either hit up the market (‘80s-era tees any Goodwill-prowling hipster would love) or set off for ... read more

24 Nov 2009


A feast for hungry bookworms

Bibliophiles in Blantyre should head straight to Mandala House. The Society of Malawi boasts an impressive library here, which visitors can browse freely. Categories include transportation, anthropology, history, botany, cookery ... read more

24 Nov 2009
Must Do


Take in the tobacco auctions

If you’re in Malawi between March and September, do not miss the tobacco auctions in Lilongwe or Blantyre. Tobacco is Malawi’s primary cash crop, responsible for 70 to ... read more

28 Nov 2009


"Big Brother" is watching you...or you're watching it.

Malawi has little local programming, but the pan-African series “Big Brother” has become a national phenomenon. The show takes representatives from across the continent, locks them in a house, and ... read more

28 Nov 2009


Ditch the fork: it’s all finger food here

No, your host did not forget the silverware. Malawians tend to eat with their hands, regardless of what’s on the menu. This can feel awkward when there’s rice ... read more

30 Nov 2009


Catch the football fever

Soccer is Malawi’s sport of choice. If you have the chance, attend a game at Blantyre’s Kamuzu Stadium. Local matches draw small crowds, but if the Malawi Flames ... read more

30 Nov 2009


Madonna does Malawi

No matter your opinion on the Material Girl, Madonna’s documentary “I Am Because We Are” is one of few films you’ll find about Malawi. The documentary examines HIV ... read more

18 Jan 2010


Listen locally

Malawi has a wealth of local musical talent, and the small scale of the scene means it’s easy to see top-notch acts for cheap. For an introduction, check out ... read more

20 Jan 2010
Being an American


This friend request ain't on Facebook

As a foreigner in Malawi, locals will be eager to chat with you. Amusing and even enlightening conversations often result, but you can also expect a number of unusual or ... read more

01 Feb 2010


A complicated legacy

Malawi gained independence from Britain in 1964, and the country was led by Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda until 1994. Newcomers to Malawian political history will likely view Banda as a ... read more

05 Feb 2010


Keep your PDA under wraps

Displays of affection are common in Malawi, but you’re more likely to see them among members of the same sex than between men and women. Men hold hands while ... read more

05 Feb 2010


This stranger wants to know if you believe in God

Most Malawians are Christian, and many will ask about your religious convictions. I tend to answer honestly, explaining that I don’t belong to any congregation (though I try not ... read more

10 Feb 2010

Or login with Facebook:

Forgot your password? We can help you change it! Click Here

Not registered? Click here to create an account.