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Our Ideal world in trouble

Insight into a few global challenges

Short stories and other perspectives from my upcoming travels outside Norway

This Blog was started in 2010 and has been updated since

The purpose of the blog is dual;

First to provide me with an opportunity to tell my stories and frustrations that Ill encounter on the road

Secondly to share some perspectives and insight into the massive challenges that developing nations often has to face mixed with love, massive wealth, absolute poverty, democracy with corruption and but yet som much optimism....

Just to mention a few paradoxes..Hope you enjoy my perspectives..


Malawi; A story about an African country with childhood traumas

Development Posted on Sun, May 27, 2012 23:21:03

Malawi; A story
about an African country with childhood traumas

A young girl at lake Malawi , very curious and insisting to model

Im in Malawi now, for my 8th time in my 29 years being alive..

Malawi, good old Malawi, often people back home is confused with another
small West African country, due to the similar name; Mali.

The name is Malawi, and it is the 7th poorest country in the world,
according to recent World Bank publications. This little article will be from a Norwegian perspective on
what has happened in Malawi the past year. Both from a regional point of view,
as well as how Malawian leadership and the lack of constitutional powers in
African context pushed the fantastic people of Malawi into further poverty.

Malawi and poverty

This is also a story about poverty, and what it really is, and how this has
increased from recent bad governance.

When I packed my bags some early cold days in January in Oslo, little
did I know, that Malawi would open my eyes once again? I have been here 7 times
before, how can I consciously learn so much from this little poor country, not
only learning about new African nation states still struggle with the identity.
Im also learning about my self, through an inner journey, im learning so much
about my own strength, and weaknesses, but most of all how my privileged life
has shaped who I am, how much I know, how much I can find out, mow much I can
shape my own surroundings, and how much I can affect others, and many more
things that living in poverty totally deprives a human being from experiencing.

A life in poverty can be argued from relativist that is a materialistic
measurement from a economical standpoint. But let me clarify what we here are
taking about when we say poverty in Malawian context, so that it’s no
misunderstanding what it is:

Here are some facts about Malawi, some relative to Norwegian context:

Malawi has about 15 million inhabitants, depending on your source and
estimates. Their state budget is about 2 billion US$ pr annum (40% of this
budget is totally dependent on foreign aid).

Norway has about 5 million inhabitants, our state budget is around 180
billion US$ pr annum

These are the real numbers between one of the poorest and the richest
countries in the world, it does not get more real.

Contrary to what one would believe about a country like Malawi things are
very expensive in Malawi, here is a few examples:

In Norway a litre of petrol cost around 2 US$ (Norway produces oil)

In Malawi a litre of petrol cost around 2 US$

In Norway 1kg of sugar cost around 1.5 US$

In Malawi 1 kg of sugar cost around 1.2 US$ (Malawi produces sugar)

The populations comparisons from CIA fact book :

Age structure:

0-14 years: 18% (male 431,111/female 412,864)

15-64 years: 66% (male 1,568,729/female 1,529,799)

65 years and over: 16% (male 326,711/female 422,635) (2011 est.)

More than half the population in Malawi is under 16 years of age….

MALAWIAN Age structure:

0-14 years: 45.1% (male 3,586,696/female 3,571,298)

15-64 years: 52.2% (male 4,140,874/female 4,155,015)

65 years and over: 2.7% (male 182,304/female 243,065) (2011 est.)

A destruktive political system and a paranoid president

Economically Malawi has been fighting against inflation and a massive
deficit the past year. These are some of the reasons as to why many of these
things happened, the belated president Bingu wa Mutaharika started out as the
third democratic president in 2004 since the first democratic elations in 1994,
as a former world bank officer Mutaharika was a fairly competent economist,
with a PHD in economics, he managed to get Malawi growth rate up to an amazing
7% his first term.

However, Mutharika was growing old, and probably was developing symptoms
of dementia before his death in April this year. The past 2 years Malawi has been on a massive downwards
spiral, Mutarika was re-elected in 2009 and started off with a bad firs year in
his second term, were he expelled the British high commissioner in 2011 for
criticising the Malawian government.
Keep in mind that 40 % of Malawi’s state budget comes from bilateral
agreements with countries like the UK, that effectively started a crisis for
Malawians, where subsidies programs to stimulate the agricultural sector had to
be reduced, and Malawian farmers were struggling to uphold their crops due to
lack of chemical fertilizer.

In May / June 2011 the universities in Malawi started speaking out for
academic freedom and some mobelisers in Blantyre and Mzuzu ( 2 & 3 biggest
cities in Malawi) started preparing for real demonstrations in Malawi, the peaceful heart of East and southern
Africa. It peaked in the end of
July 2011, when more than 20 people were killed in peaceful academic
demonstrations towards the government policies of freedom of expression. This
changed the whole political sphere of Malawi; people became scared of their own
government and president. Many were calling it the new Zimbabwe, where the
president name should not be mentioned in the streets without looking over your
shoulder. Malawi was not so peaceful anymore, not even the parliament or any
democratic structure in Malawi could make the president resign.

Donor countries like the US, Germany and Norway, the three major ones
apart from the UK government, were all pulling out of their bilateral
agreements with the Malawian government, leaving both the Government and the
Malawian people with a massive deficit budget, unable to provide for most basic
services in the society. Like importing petrol, a monopoly activity exclusively
accessible for the government of Malawi. It also created a massive scarcity of
availability of foreign currency, making the government and the private sector
totally crippled of importing general goods, as Malawian own currency cannot
even be sold in an international bank.
The currency was falsely stabilized by the government at 160 kwacha pr
UD$, but at the private marked in Malawi you had to pay 300 kwacha for one
US$. This kept the general
population unable to purchase the US$ to import anything unless you could
afford to buy $ at double the price. Some of economical results that lasted
throughout 2011 and 2012 were that:

Ø Petrol became a luxury commodity, mostly
unavailable everywhere, a petrol station would have petrol 4 days in a month

Ø Petrol on the black-market became a
high investment where one had to pay up to 5 $ pr litre

Ø On a 3-hour drive on a highway in
Malawi, you could meet 2-4 cars on the whole drive.

Ø To stabilize the lack of foreign
currency all the Malawian sugar was exported, so Malawians had to pay up to 4
US$ pr kg of sugar.

Ø General commodities became generally
unavailable due to lack of transport, and prices skyrocketed

Ø Airline companies stopped selling
tickets in Malawi only selling from online websites in US$

Ø Malawi has and have a massive
currency control where you need special permits to purchase US$ from a Malawian
bank, Visa cards and credit cards are generally not issued from Malawian banks.

Ø The poor and ultra poor, can not
travel anywhere unless they can afford to pay a relative massive price, and
accept to sit with unreasonable filled minivan with up to 16 other cramped
people, to compensate for massive fuel prices.

Ø An onion in the market can cost more
than it cost in Norway under the driest season, vegetable as sold pr piece to
increase the earnings. And onion or a carrot could be sold for 50-80 $Cent

Ø People still believed in democracy
and hoped that elections in 2014 would change the president, and get Malawi
back on track.

In April 2012 President Mutharika died on Friday leaving the whole
country holding the breath for two days before the government announced his
death and acknowledging the female vice president as the new president. During
the last year president Mutarika and VP Mrs Joyce Banda had had a massive
falling out due to the presidents policies, that resulted in an interesting situation.

The vice-president was in 2011 kicked out of the ruling party Democratic
Progressive Party –DPP- (that was
established by the president after he was elected in his first term), Mutharika
could not kick out the vice president as she was elected on the same principles
he was In the presidential elections. The vice president decided to create her
own party while she was still vice president; she called the party People party

During the two days while Malawi was without a leader, many accusations
have been made in the aftermath that DPP government ministers conspired to
appoint another DPP president, Mutharikas brother who was second in
command. Luckily Malawi survived
the sherade and followed constitutional powers; no-one was even hurt by
military or police during the days. Malawi has proved itself as a stable
African country once more; many feared a harsh political circus developing.

Malawians as seeing hope in the horizon with the new president Joyce Banda

Now Malawi has not only the second female president in African history,
but the first ever female president in southern Africa. However impressive and progressive this
might seem, im still reluctant to say that Malawi is developing into a true
democratic state, but nor do I claim that it should be in hurry to do so. Wanting to appear as a democratic state
and being one is not the same thing.
Malawi has a multiparty system similar to European models, due to the
whole transition process to independency in 1964 from UK. However the parties are relaying on
their leader as street gang in any violent big city around the world. When the
leader deflects and dies, the party structure (if any) does not have any
democratic mechanisms to deal with their loss, and the integrity of the party
proves to be flaud.

In this recent situation where the president effectively did not have
any members of parliament elected, due to her creation of the party after
government elections took place. There has been a massive deflection from the
ruling party DPP over to PP, were parliamentarians and ministers seems more
like opportunistic politicians, rather than being electives of the people with
integrity and principles based in some kind of ideology.

Malawis political system is based on a system that has strong rules and
principles of a multiparty structure, that hinders people of taking decisions
that will bear no consequences if one chooses to deflect. In a stable multiparty system, one can
deflect, but not without loosing your mandate as a people representative
elected on the grounds of belonging to a certain party.

The irony in this complicated picture, is that Malawian culture and
Southern African mentality, is that individualism is not something to strive
towards. Group decisions and
collectives are the core values of their society structure. However when it
some to this implemented democratic system called republic with a ruling
president and parliament, it creates an opportunistic system, were individuals play
such a crucial role in the system, that the whole system can collapse in the
individual-focused governing system. All also in total contrary what a
multiparty system is based on, where individualism should not be the ruling
factor of decisions and sustainable implementation.

A forgotten memorial of Malawis slave trade centre Nkhotakota, this is the only remains from the main slave trade Mosk in Nkhotakota ,Malawi. A distant memory in modern democratic Malawi.

If Malawi wants to become truly democratic, there should be stronger
capacity bulding in building proper mechanism internally in the parties that
will enable the parties to grow and govern stability internally. If not democracy, maybe
rethinking a new model, were Malawian can in a referendum decide what kind of
governing system they want, more closely linked to their own hierarchical
systems, but trying to stop pretending like Malawi is democratic would be

My life in Malawi

In the past 4 months I have been living my life in Malawi, in addition
in becoming the management advisor to a rural non-governmental organisation, Im
also becoming a temporary citizen of Malawi. Im living in a small community next to Lake Malawi in
Central Malawi, called Nkhotakota. The town has about 50 000 inhabitants,
beside a few local restaurants and bars, and a even fever number of something
similar to supermarkets, there is nothing much the town as such has to offer. Also
the first place I have lived where diary products, such as cheese and butter is
non existent, a real African experience. Not complaining, just explaining.

At my work, the NGO called Nkhotakota Youth Organsation (NYO), I have
some wonderful co-workers as well as lots of activities going on. Since I came
to NYO we have been developing some exiting projects, and even gotten a grant
to extend their current vocational training centre into a full-blown cultural

As I´m writing we are constructing cultural centre that will train young
people in performing arts, have cultural performances once a week from the
groups we train, we will ensure talent development of the youngsters. The
centre will also ensure its own sustainability through being a commercial
conference centre, a proper cinema, having a restaurant and other commercial
activities. To out it mildly its very inspiring that Im getting an opportunity
of be a part of building all these things from scratch.

Secondly I have initiated with NYO a renewable energy program based on an idea I saw in
Tanzania a few years back. In Nkhotakota only 2-3% of the population has
electricity from the official grid system. The general population lives of having
fires at night, some using paraffin, candlelight, or a mini bulb from an old
diode flashlight connected to a few batteries. This new verture I have proposed for the NGO to make more
money for the future is to, start a separate social company that should aim to
become a leading renewable energy company in Malawi, a country were only 9% of
the population has electricity. This will company will have a massive potential
to grow into a huge energy company, providing a whole new structure for new
energy companies in Africa. See &

Local flashlight in Malawi, two bulbs on a stick…

In our process we have just found two major partners in Malawi one being
the leading climate and energy NGO in Malawi another being the polytechnic university in
Blantyre. The fist one has agreed to become part owners of the company, in our search we were so lucky to find
these guys who already had planned to start a energy company, and they have
already got all the government licenses for it. S o we are ahead of
ourselves, they also randomly enough are experts in calculating carbon credits,
and are close to being the leading expert in Malawi to work with international
trading of Clean Development Mechanism CDM, which we will make a part of our
business structure. The only thing remaining now is to find 5 Million US$ for
investments in the company. Wish us luck!

What I enjoy in Malawi

Beside all these things, I have gotten myself a beautiful motorcycle that
I love cruising the rural district, it’s a 12 years old bike in Malawi, but its
working fine for me, and I find irresistible driving around on dirt roads
between old cute villages, with kids running and waiving just enjoying the sun
and the road in Africa. Sometimes
I drive down to the lake just a few kilometres from my house and enjoy a view
only seen on pictures. It’s a beautiful life.

I have also got some amazing friends in Lilongwe, the capital, so with a 3 hours
bus drive I find myself in weird capital full of international relief agencies
present, were you find restaurant and bars so filled with Mzungus (Nickname for
whites in Southern & east Africa), you will easily believe your back in
Europe for a moment. Its not very charming, but in small dozes for a rural
villager like myself it can provide some extra energy a night or two a month.

Other than that I hang our in Nkhotakota with some local Mzungus and my
co-workers as time passes. Also
very fond of my very cute dog, that makes every day coming home from work a
true JOY, also fitting as its her name.

By the way wanna mention a special person that has made my life bit easier lately, thanks to you Gittings..

To tell the truth I am loving it here and cant really foresee that I
have to leave again so soon, only 8 months left, 1 /3 of my time is already
gone, and I feel I arrived yesterday. Time is truly flying…

This is my first blog written since I Moved to Malawi, my goal was twice
a month like Ive done before. But to be honest, to many things, to many people
here that just keeps me so´ busy, and just not in the right corner to write any
inspirational nonsense. I will now try to write at least once a month, but can’t
promise anything, like anyone cares 😉

Ciao for now, and by the way thanks if you have read all this random

Hopes and dreams in and about Cape Town

Development Posted on Sun, July 10, 2011 22:59:32

Cape Town at sunset

Its been
more or less a year sine I set out for my trip to Tanzania to work there for a
few months. Throughout the past 12
months I have been spending time in Zanzibar, Dar es salam , Arusha(Tanzania),
Lake Malawi, Victoria falls(Zambia), Okawngva delta(Botswana) and the Namibian
coast. Its 9 months since I left Africa from Cape Town, where I spent a month
in Paris, another 3 months in Stavanger (Norway), 4 months in Oslo, and now the
past month in Cape Town. Wow, it has been a ride…

There is a
saying that to Travel is to live, and
my conclusion would have to agree on that. My friends that know me the most
would say I come across many difficult situations, and I´m constantly on the
search for something. Maybe this hangs together with being alive? or is it
being lost ?

perspectives I will put forward now, are not necessarily based on my
intellectual self, but more from the human encounters I have had, and the
perspectives it has given me. There are so many stories I want to tell; here is
a few of them.

The people
that usuallytravel in Africa usually find the continent different that most
places they have been, my experiences in Africa has evolved me deeply and will
continue to grow for as long as im alive. Last year I travelled through east
Africa down to Cape Town with around 20 people that more or less travelled for
their first time here. These fellow travellers where ordinary backpackers, that
was seeking to find fun and good times in this mysterious continent. We had great
times together, but the sad thing was to observe how little curiosity the crowd
felt towards the people and cultures we encountered on the road. Some people
simply do not open their eyes enough to what they are exposed to on their

My best friends in Malawi, Gift and Harry (and Kim from Norway)

My previous
4 trips to Malawi and Zambia has been trips that has evolved me as a human
being, meeting people who struggle each day with different sorts of poverty
issues. But still maintaining a life spark beyond everything of what we know
from our western societies and our consumer oriented lifestyle. In many
countries around east Africa, you find a warmth, joy and friendliness that can
only be imagined by the regular charter tourist from Europe. This is what has made me fall in love
with East Africa. My relationship with East Africa is mutual, I feel a deep love
and I feel deeply loved, by my dear friends and African families there. I want
to dedicate these special moments to a few hand selected Africans, who has
touched me deeply, to my dear friends Gift, Harry, Togo and Tendai from Malawi,
Wilfred, Said and his brother from Tanzania, My dear Tendai from Zimbabwe. And
so many more people that I do not have words to thank for their compassion and
incredible knowledge, And then the wonderful people I have met here in Cape
town that has given me broader perspectives about and around south Africa, to
Debby and Matiba from zim, Diane , Madi , Niv, Caryn, Belinda and The staff at
the Big Issue ,and so many more that I forgetting now….

The point
im making here is that people like these are the ones I Meet that makes me
believe in humanity, and helps me understand that Africa is a place for self-development
and reflections. They help me understand the complexity of the Continent that im
in Love with. Thereby helping me to understand a bit more about myself. Thank
you , to you all…

I arrived
to Cape Town just over a month ago, and I have been fortunate enough to meet
some fantastic people here, truly warm and kind people that life their life as
best can be lived. However you don’t need to spend much time in Cape Town to
understand that there is deep and dark mistrust in this country. As a man that cares deeply for people,
and is mostly occupied by peoples well being and would love nothing more than
people just loving each other. I
feel deeply shocked and stirred of what I observe in south Africa. There is so
much hatred that I feel it shacking in the inner core of my bones. I have read much
about their history, I have searched for understanding, and talked to as many
people as I can. My current
conclusion is that Cape Town is the New York of Africa. It provides us
Europeans with an absolute fantastic time, with a cuisine more impressive than
the one of Roma, culture and art on the level with Vienna, Paris and Barcelona
combined. It has cinemas, coffee shops, bars and galleries that makes you enjoy
every minute of your free time.

At the same
time it has a cultural diversity that one can dream of in Africa, In south
Africa, they have standardised racial categories from the old days, and
maintained them up until today, during the Apartheid regime, The white
population was defined as the ruling class, the Indian and the coloured served
as one racial terms, and the most marginalised, however making more than 80 %
of the population where left ignored in the official economy. Leaving the majority
Africans in South Africa largely impoverished and furious at the suppressing
and monstrous apartheid regime. When Nelson Mandela was released from Prison
and later became president in 1994, he had to choose between two directions
with his politics, he could have started a war towards all the people who had
let him rotten in prison for the past 30 years or so, however he saved the
country with promoting tolerance and forgiveness. To become an inspiration for
the rest of the world, and maybe even promoting South Africa internationally as
a harmonic nation on a record time.

I have been
wondering many times before I arrived how this country could escape their past
without having to endure a civil war. Just to point out how different Cape Town
is from the rest of the country in demographic

people account for 48.13% of the population, followed by Black Africans at 31%,
Whites at 18.75%, and Asians at 1.43%.

Africa has in general 9 % Afrikaners and 9 % coloured. And around 80% Black Africans

Now I have
been here for 5 weeks or so and would agree with the many academic saying the
current situation is more of and economical segregation than a racial one.
However the polarisation (divide) is very present, and the people on the top of
the pyramid does not seem to have changed their morally outdated and middle age
mentality. I have experienced a
mood in Cape Town that is sad. However I also meet a lot a optimism, from the
people working around in different places. The most of the people I like to
hang around with are people with an open mind, and that sees on a macro view on
things. Not working from their small micro perspectives, based on fear and lack
of understanding and empathy. Unfortunately this seems to be a marginal number
of the population. The stories I have been told about the tension at all levels
of the society are much based on the historical events that put all the layers
of the population to turn against each other.

One can
easily understand that poverty can put forward less tolerance, which is a basis of
much of the tension on the lower or no income parts of the population (the vast
majority)(This is yet a point I have to experience). However the most lack of tolerance and empathy I experience and hear
stories about, are in the wealthy rich white areas, I would compare it to the tolerance
found in Texas in the late 50s and 60s. A sad chapter of human history, I have
heard the same stories being told in Zimbabwe and Namibia. What is it about
these massive polarisations, and how can it be turned around? This white middle
and rich classes have all the opportunities to be well educated and open
minded, to try to turn their own perspectives around, and to try to make peace
with what the story did bring around.
To understand why all the negativity is growing in the poor communities
is a fact is not very hard to understand. But to understand that the wealthy
and rich do not understand the poor perspectives are much harder from where I stand.

I don’t
have any answers on the questions im putting forward here, im simply raising my
own perspectives for my own amusements sake.

My last
sections here will be about what im doing here, so I can inform some of my
closest friends and family how my days are looking down here, and what im trying
to achieve at my work place as an intern for these three months.

I came to Cape
Town around 6 weeks now, and have about 6 more to go. I arrived my other 14
fellow Norwegian students that are in this program in Cape Town. The first
weeks we started university, with 3 lectures a week, being presented about the
Historical and economical situation of South Africa, also touching on
leadership skills, and development issues in general.

We have all
been placed around Cape Town in different internships, varying a lot from
community business development, different employment programs for impoverished
people to Cape Towns street paper, which I am a part of.

I am currently working with the Big Issue South Africa, which publish a street magazine every three weeks. For mainly the city of Cape Town and
surroundings. When they publish, 300-400 people from the poorest townships in
Cape Town has as their daily job to sell the magazine. Then they earn 50 %
revenue from the magazine sale. Which for a good vendor could bring a monthly
income on about 3500 -4000 Rds (apox 600 USD) . The organisation is also a
social office, to help the vendors develop their skills and become eligible as
regular labour force. The big Issue South Africa has more than 114 street papers partners in 40 countries over 6 continents as their partners through the international network of
street papers. So if you know about a local street paper, it is connected
through the network.

What my
fellow Norwegian intern associate and me are doing for the Big issue is to
build a festival to celebrate their 15th anniversary in Cape Town in
2011. We are building a one-day
festival to celebrate Cape Towns diversity, and to put a focus on the good work
the Big Issue and street papers around the world are doing. We are currently
hoping to draw artist and sponsors around the world to come along, and create
concerts and a local presentation of artist that will rock the ground. We are
working with internationally with other street papers, The British council,
Cape Town own huge annual festival(Cape Town festival), The mayors office and many more, to
create a festival that Cape Town will not forget around 15th of
October 2011. If you or someone
you know would like to come with some form of assistance please email me.

We do
believe that we can make it happen with enough support …

Just a
small political speech here, sorry about that …

I think
this is it for now, I have been writing this blog over so many days now, that I
have to post it today…For all my best friends and family around the world, you
are with me every moment of every day…Big Hugs from Cape Town

I have taken all the pictures prestented here (beside the last) to show some of the good memories from Cape town I already have..

Best Regards

Daniel Huth Ommundsen In Cape Town, South African winter 2011

Getting Ideological in Africa

Development Posted on Sat, September 25, 2010 19:02:28

African sentiment

The continent of Africa has become a very special place for me; I guess it’s the same for me as with most foreigners I meet here, African countries do get attached to your heart. To observe the diversity and the complexity here strikes you as another planet, or another time period, or just so different you fell like you can never really understand everything that goes on here. When you get close to the continent, it like you get you hopes up for Africa’s future and prosperity. The different tribes, the languages, the history, the food, the smells, the people, and everything else, it is all so intense that you simply cannot miss it once you’re here.

I keep referring to as the continent of Africa, and not by the individual countries names, which would the proper way of referring to it. I guess the reason behind is that you truly feel as the continent is so interconnected, that when you travel across borders here, it all feels so connected. Hard to explain, but easy to feel. The history is truly something that matters being on the African continent, to even begin comprehending why things have become what they are; you have to learn about the history as with most places I assume. However when referring to the continent of Africa in the way I do, I tend to generalize a lot, and for outside readers who haven’t had the pleasure visiting sub Saharan Africa, I don’t want to give the wrong impression that sub Saharan Africa is all the same. Because it is absolutely not, it’s quite the opposite, with thousands of tribal languages, different economical situations and much more. Like any other continent. The problem is that a person like me who like to think that I can understand everything, and learn everything, tend to generalize too much about a continent ending up to over simplify, and getting the exact opposite result as the one I’m trying to achieve. Oversimplifying the complexity therefore understanding less, consequently also spreading the over simplistic mindset to the readers. I am aware of the complexity and would like to put some emphasize on it in the following paragraph.

European heritage

Here come some difficult subjects ripped up by the roots, and turned up side down. It might be morally wrong to address what I’m about to reflect, but please excuse me if it seems unproper. My current trip has in one week taken me all the way from East Africa down to Cape Town more than 13 000 km in about 5 weeks time, I will have gone through 6 countries when I disembark in Cape Town, I will have gone through some remarkable countries on the way. Where I have been exposed to some extreme poverty in some countries and also some rather fascinating developed countries, in comparison with the first 3 countries. From the moment I entered Botswana and Namibia, it seems as there has been a radical change in economical strength and infrastructural development. Compared to what I have seen of east Africa it seems like another continent all together. Botswana has an amazing history with rather little war and almost no racism, referring to lonely planet it has a multiracial society who is greatly at peace with one another.

I had read and heard previous to going to Namibia that is had a much more turbulent history and racial contemporary situation. Namibia had an Apartheid system all up until 1990, and had its liberation just before South Africa did in 1994. Being in a town called swakopmund on the coast of Namibia on the West African coast, bordering to the Atlantic Ocean, it seems like a small European village. As much as I enjoy feeling a little bit like home, with bars and coffee shops, and a nice westernized shopping center. I can’t help to reflect on how incredible controversial these type of cities must have been when they were built. And trust me, it’s not only this little city here, it seems that most of the infrastructure in Namibia is the same. That makes me thinking that how you can defend this development that has taken place here when it been constructed with one of the most brutal systems ever invented by man, the apartheid. I simply cannot get at ease with that, I feel that the very my own fundamentals tells me that it is simply wrong in every possible way. I won’t go much more into this, as it is no much more to say about it, just the facts and no words can compensate for the made history.

Development in Africa

As most of you know what my studies have been linked to development countries and their history. Talking about development there are many issues which can be divided into different categories E.g. economic, human life span, healthcare availability, literacy rate and much more. Many academics and other people has a clear view upon what development is, some will say its dependant on the economic situation, others will say its education, others will emphasize on health as the major issue. However many sides to development there is, there will always be someone on the other side saying to prioritize different due to their belief. This also happens in real life where you have tons of different stakeholders who have their own opinion on what would be a better life.

There are the inhabitants, the academics, the economist, the social scientist, the politicians, the ex-pats, the doctors, a mom, the tourist, a fisherman, a local chief, a president and many many more. Remember how many thousands of people will try to get their priority trough.

On my own part I remember, when I started to become interested in these matters, and begun to learn about Malawi the first few times I was there, I clearly remember how disappointed I became each time I saw someone abusing corruption, or taking advantage of the weak system here, I starting loosing faith in a good future. Also I started to discredit the capitalist system, as I believed that that system is the main source of enhancing greed amongst people. Looking back on what I have learned, I must still say that this is my belief, the only problem I have realized is that there is no easy way away from that system, that is unless all electricity disappears due to sun storms in 2013, as NASA and the British government has warned us might happen. This system has been made the very foundation of modern society. Due to its stronghold from the 1980s, the modern nations have adapted it as its primary key to development.

The developing nations have many been ruled by fierce dictators, or are still under such a rule, that make any capitalistic rule seem like a far away dream, where one could make his own profit through a company or live the American dream. The economic doctrine the past century have been swinging between the Keynesian school of economic, which believes in strong government control and strict regulations, and the Hayek the famous economist that drove Thatcher and Reagan privatizations and de-regulation doctrine, to what today has produced the major privatization wave and “New public Management” in the westernized world, where modernization, renewal, improving efficient and cut cost is the core focus when it come to public service. From 2008 we say many world leaders getting back to the Keynesian idea to resume government control once again, because there was little else to do to avoid massive ruins in the financial sectors. However elections throughout Europe the last 2-3 years has shown us a right wing wave stronger than before. So there seems to be little indications that the global economics will change towards a government ruled world economy on the long run.

This gives fruit to the idea that the development world will continue to follow the westernized world in the coming future, where economic hegemony is amongst the Thatcher’s fan clubs around the globe. Rather than rethinking a system, that would set people, environment and leveling out poverty as its primary goals, rather than owners of multinational companies, that will bend every rule and law to make an extra dollar. Personally I hope that sooner than later, there will come an event that forces us to rethink the way we conduct or business as normal. Because as of now, the developing countries are not harvesting even a small fraction of what the western world has benefited thought out the past centuries due to suppressing systems that has befitted the west and fucked the rest.

My roles

Going around in my own protected bubble, its seems very easy to comment at all these global issues without considering my own little part in it, many people I meet on the way seems to be questioning my idealism, calling it naïve and unrealistic. Also asking me why I bother to believe in utopia, where the world would have to change into something so different, also throwing some indoctrinated anti communist sentences from the 1960 produced by the American witch hunt for communists. As I evolve as person, and in my travels, I realize that the world will not get less complex as you learn more. The opposite happens, the world seems so much more complex, and instead of becoming apathetic and paralyzed I stick onto my ideology and moderating it bit by bit. But no question about it, I do not believe that any pure economic ideological system can save the planet from the human beings, our only option is to save our selves or else become our own destruction.

My past, my present, my future, is in our hands

Which are our proper roles, questions that follow us every day, but instead of getting closer to an answer; our questions just become larger as we evolve.

How can we live our life with eternal questions?

Please ask your self….

My revival in East Africa

On the road Posted on Fri, September 10, 2010 19:18:21

Camping in the wild in Zambia

Since the mid of July my blog has been quiet and dead, I have not communicated anything what has been ongoing in my mind or in my life. Due to many reasons my willpower to create and correspond with people has been minor. There are many reasons as to why I have felt this way, reasons that will be kept quiet in this context, but I have learned a great deal that has affected me in several ways both positive and negative ways. I have missed both friends and family in the process, but I have come out of it a stronger and more experienced man. For now I feel the motivation coming back to me again, a lot due to all the wonderful people around the world that has encouraged me to continue writing, and for the wonderful feedback you have given me.

Thank you so much for that!

Eagle in the sky in Malawi

The last months has been very quiet in terms of action, I was spending some time in Dar es Salam, where I met some great friends, that made my stay there very nice. Thanks a lot to my cousin that gave me housing in Arusha for three weeks, we hade much fun, and I got to know his two beautiful dogs, and got to know many nice people in Arusha and Tanzania. I spent in total a little over two months in the beautiful and complex country of in the heart of east Africa, inhabiting a little over 45 million people, providing the world with natural miracles like the Serengeti steps, Africa’s highest mountain” Mount Kilimanjaro” and the paradise Island of Zanzibar. I was lucky enough to see a lot of the country.

Me and Johan Wold

Now I am on another journey again, about 1.5 weeks ago, I and my friend Johan from my home city got on a truck that is to take us from Dar es Salam down to Cape Town during 5 extreme weeks. It has now been a little over one fifth of the trip, and I have to say that it feel great to be a part of this trip. In my case, I have been to most of the places already that we have passed so far, currently we are in one of the best national parks in Southern Africa, southern Luangua National park. We have been here for few days, and when we leave here tomorrow, for the first time on the trip ill be on unknown territory. This park if probably one of the wildest experiences I have had in my life. 24 hours a day we are surrounded by wild animals, mostly Monkeys, baboons, hippos, crocodiles and Elephants, just since we arrived 24 hours ago, we have had close encounters with all of the mentioned. However the elephants are the most unique encounters, as the come to the truck, bar and tents for food and rip and destroy everything the can get their trunk across.

Loud reflection on the overland tourism

The overland truck and our fellow expeditions members

As I have been to different types of tourism for many times, by working in different places, teaching and by running tours, I would say that I know a thing or two about tourism. In this context I am tempted to say that this is the best Journey I have ever been to. The people, the truck, the driver, and the most important the countries are just incredible. Coming from my background, where poverty and Ngo work has been the major part of my previous visits in Malawi, I have often taken a few days with vacation when I have been here before, but there is little that can compare with the life on the road like we are doing now.

Luangua National park in Zambia

On the days we are on the road we get up around 7-8 in the morning, take down our tents, cook breakfast, what ever cooking group has the duty that morning, then we mount in the truck and prepare for another 6-8 hours on the road. We get to either a campsite or just camp in the wild, making a meal that has been based on the freshest of vegetables and the biggest creativity, closely monitored by the driver and his girlfriend that it will turn out with the highest of quality, so everybody will eat with a big appetite. I have got to say, that I don’t even eat this healthy and good dinner even when I am in my daily routine at home. Today the menu is hippo meat as steaks, from the local game, looking forward for it….

Curious kids outside our truck with 33 mzungus in it

Like normal I have to give a small reflection on the poverty in the context I am in, I will for as long as I live care about the negative impacts of absolute poverty. Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia are all classified as very poor countries, for me this is common knowledge, I have been studying related topics for four years, and guess I will not stopping coming back to this part of the world, to learn more and even work here some time. But my experience is that I’m more or less the only person who has been to Africa before out of the 31 other people on the truck.
The average age is around 25 years old on this trip, the people have all types of backgrounds, and there are mechanics, factory workers, nurses, engineers, financial advisers, students from all disciplines and many other backgrounds. They are mostly from the UK and Australia. My point here is that there is many indirect consequences of this generation doing these comprehensive trips, its not just flying into a luxury resort in the Serengeti for you fancy lion shot, and relaxing at the beach in Zanzibar, like most of the tourist I met in Zanzibar and Arusha.

A typical day at the truck

These trips provide a vast insight in each country geographical, economical, topographical, tribal complexity, literature, colonial history, contemporary geo politics and much more. You actually learn great deal passing through a country in a week or two; obviously it will be a bit naive and super idealistic to believe that each individual on these trips gains knowledge on each on these topics. However everyone will come relative enriched out of each country, up to his or hers prerequisites for understanding. They might inspire other friends or family to take a similar trip, which in the end will benefit Africa in another way, in becoming a little more unknown for many people around the world, and even create more understanding for the unique and vast continent that Africa is. That will in the end attract more bridging with the rest of the world, rather that being the continent that always is considered behind the rest of the world…

Tenting in Luangua National park

Like the Shakira so well puts it,” it`s time for Africa”

TIA (THIS IS AFRICA) every morning

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