A friend of mine, Chomora Mikeka, a PhD student at Yokohama National University, was invited by Ki-Africa, a non-profit organization, to give a talk about Malawi, contrary to what is claimed by journalists online. The presentation took place last Saturday from 13:00 to 14:00 at JICA Global Plaza, Hiroo, Tokyo. Even though I have been very busy with my research  and a trip to Tsukuba University where I presented a paper at the 2009 Fuzzy Systems Symposium, I could not afford to miss Chomora’s presentation.  I was with him at Hiroo. I enjoyed his presentation. It was in Japanese.

The presentation first aimed at locating Malawi on the World Map. How to travel from Japan to Malawi was visually demonstrated using a video clip recorded from a recent Japan Nihon TV program titled Waratte Koraete. Assuming that the audience has now arrived in Malawi, the Malawi nation’s brief history  was told since 1870s; an account of the native Maravi, reasons as to why they sought British Protection and the trigger to the Chilembwe uprisings in 1915; and the road to independence, which came in 1964. The three colonial regimes (Dr Banda, Dr Muluzi and Dr Mutharika) were briefly discussed, with emphasis on their social impact. Malawians’ current way of life, economic progress, local development initiatives like the Japan born One Village One Product model (a value adding business) were presented with specific case studies and product evaluations. From OVOP, Malawi’s baobab jam got a lot of audience’s attraction and interest. Beyond local development initiatives, a potential ground for Foreign Trade and Investment was presented citing cases of Uranium mining, Transport system, and Information and Communications Engineering sectors. The presentation was concluded by exposing the selected tourist attractions and travel agencies in Malawi and to the neighbouring countries.

After the presentation, we had an interesting question and answer session. The popular discussions revolved around:

  1. Education system; consistence on English instruction  and the restricted entrance ratio to public universities (University of Malawi and Mzuzu University)
  2. Tribes and languages
  3. Actual process of developing baobab  jam
  4. Whether or not a direct flight is possible to Malawi
  5. How major investment containers are transported to such a land locked country like Malawi.
  6. It was also an attractive point for the audience to hear that public hospitals and primary schools are free of charge, especially that the public hospitals are free even for foreigners.
  7. The happy nature; ever smiling culture of Malawians was greatly admired; and a perfect Japanese expression for the ever joyful Malawians is “「笑う門には福来る(Warau kado ni wa fuku kitaru.)

After the Q and A session, we took part in the Swahili lessons. Here are the photos from the day:

Chomora being introduced by Prof Nishikata, one of the directors for Kiafrica

Chomora being introduced by Prof Nishikata, one of the directors for Kiafrica

Presentation starts

Presentation starts

Making a point

Making a point

Chomora making the presentation

Chomora making the presentation

Chatting with Momoko-san and Midori-san

Chatting with Momoko-san and Midori-san

With the members of KiAfrica

With the members of KiAfrica

Mr Hasebe used to stay in Tanzania for many years

Mr Hasebe used to stay in Tanzania for many years. In this photo, he is teaching Swahili.

Momoko-san and Midori-san used to work in Chiradzulu, Malawi

Momoko-san and Midori-san used to work in Chiradzulu, Malawi