Phase 1

I am leaving tomorrow to for the first phase of my research project. Along with my newly hired research assistant, Charles, I am traveling to Kasungu District in the Central Region tomorrow. This is about a six hour drive from where I’m living right now, in Zomba. We’re planning to be based in Kasungu for about a week.

I’m planning to stay over one night in the capital, Lilongwe, with my friend and colleague, Kim Dionne. Kim will just be arriving in the country, doing a research project similar to my own. So, like all good colleagues, we plan to help each other out and combine our knowledge. Plus, she’s brining a bottle of wine from her stopover in Joburg…

While in Kasungu, I have a laundry list of tasks to get through. Luckily, I was able to get a lot of them done from Zomba, thanks to a new (but good) friend that works at the National Statistics Office. For example, he was able to get me a list of villages by enumeration area (a really small unit), as well as the ethnic make-up of each EA. Today I had two huge maps printed of the Traditional Authority we’ll be visiting. In Kasungu, Charles and I will meet with the district commissioner, the traditional authority Chulu, and the sub-traditional authority Chisinga. We’ll visit most of the villages in the area, to have the information that will allow us to have a sampling strategy (size, ethnic make-up, distance from border, distance to market, etc.). I also want to chat with people in the border markets about if and how nationality and ethnicity impact economic transaction.

We’ll probably sleep in the boma (district capital), and I’m really hoping that my favorite guesthouse there from last year will still be open and will still be so great. The place is called Domasani. It was locally owned and run, but unlike many other things in Malawi, it was run with extreme efficiency and a focus on customer care. Plus, they serve the best beef and rice I’ve had in the country.

I’m planning to leave Kasungu on the 14th, and sleep in Lilongwe. Then, fingers crossed, I’ll pick Joachim up from the LLW airport on the 15th. If his bags arrive and we can find fuel for the car, we’ll race back to Zomba before the next round of anti-government protests occur on the 17th. My main concern is finding petrol, but I was able to stock pile about 40 liters this week, so I’ll take that with me in jerrycans and hope for the best.

I know I haven’t been great about updating, and I’ll be even worse over the next week in Kasungu, but I’ll try to make more of a habit of writing when I get back.

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