Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Bicentenary of Dr David Livingstone...

If you have seen the news this week, you might know that Dr Joyce Banda, The President of Malawi visited Scotland for the Bicentenary celebrations of Dr David Livingstone's Birth (19th March). Amongst other things, she has visited the David Livingstone centre in Blantyre, attended a service with the First Minster and also appeared at the Scottish Cup Final (St Mirren v Hearts).

I was lucky to be invited to the Scotland-Malawi Partnership event on Monday afternoon. Attended by Dr Joyce Banda and Ministers from Malawi, the event highlighted the numerous links between Scotland and Malawi, particularly in the areas of Health and Education. Amongst the guests were representatives from many Scottish Organisations working in Malawi. The speakers included; Martha Payne the NeverSeconds blogger, Olivia Giles from the charity 500Miles and Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for External Affairs and International Development (to name a few).

The event went without a hitch (if there were any, I didn't notice). There were lots of people there with an interest in Malawi and development. It's not unusual to see the same selection of faces at Malawi related events and it really doesn't take long before you get to know who does what. I've lost count of how many SMP events I've attended in the last three years but I always come away feeling inspired and enthusiastic about working in Malawi (and even for writing my PhD).

What did I do on Tuesday do I hear you ask? I was at the Scottish Parliament for Dr Joyce Banda's address to MSPs and invited guests. This was Dr Banda's first visit to Scotland as Head of State, though she has visited before when she was Minister for Foreign Affairs. President Banda gave a very moving speech to the Parliament, highlighting just some of the issues which have affected Malawi in recent months, emphasising the importance of the relationship between Scotland and Malawi and expressing her wishes for the future partnership between the two nations.

On the Bicentenary of Dr David Livingstone, it was nice to feel a part of the legacy of his work. I wear lots of "hats" when it comes to Malawi. For that I owe many thanks to David Hope-Jones and the Scotland-Malawi Partnership for giving me an opportunity which steered my MSc Thesis, led to a PhD proposal and eventually to falling in love with a country that really does deserve the name The Warm Heart of Africa.