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Malawi is called the warm heart of Africa. And indeed, the customary ‘How are you today?’, ‘Very well, thank you! How about yourself?’, ‘Very well, thank you!’ is telling. On Wednesday, we went on a field trip with UNAIDS to take photographs of parts of the HIV and AIDS Testing and Counseling (HTC) program.
Within a half-hour drive away from Lilongwe, the capital, we were in a truly rural environment. Malawi is densely populated and the bumpy dust roads that connect rural communities are popular arteries of commerce. The transport of goods along those roads happens on foot, bicycle, cars, or carts drawn by donkeys or cows, many packed to the limit, or at least what appears to be the limit, until you see someone else with an even bigger load. Bicycles carry amazing amounts of wood, charcoal, pans, baskets, furniture, all sorts of produce, and also some goats and pigs. The firewood stack on the back and on top of a rider’s head can be a total of 2m high and is strapped to a special rack that just about leaves a bit of space to actually ride the bicycle. Many fill also that bit of space with goods and push this mountain on wheels along, leaning against it like someone shouldering the leaning tower of Pisa.
Wherever we went we saw lots of children. Five minutes after the first shy looks, the curious inched closer and once one discovered that there’s a display on the back of the camera, hilarious posing commenced.
This was one of the few shots in which most of the kids happened to be in one tight knot away from me. After each shot, everybody gathered around the camera to see who’s most prominently pictured. Unfailingly, a competition for the best spot in the next shot began, resulting in an excited row of kids trying to get in front of each other.
I hope to be able to post more shots over the next couple of days. However, frequent power outages and slow connections make uploading images a bit trying.
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