Lilongwe, Malawi … For many people in the west, their only concept of Africa comes from movies. All too often the cinema screen presents the continent as steaming jungles, thick vegetation, and miserable heat. Children are viewed with flies on their faces, and giant snakes slither through unsuspecting villagers.
Nothing is farther from the truth. While there are jungles in Africa, the continent is so widespread that no single view can gather in all the variety of the 54 nations that constitute the whole of Africa. Much of the northern part of Africa is composed of deserts. Many of the people who live there seldom see or experience thick vegetation, and for many, the miserable heat only comes at certain times of the year, just as it does in western nations.
Even in Malawi, one of the smallest land masses on the continent, the weather varies enough it is hard to come up with a single definition. However, there is one thing that is clear. For the entire nation, there is a period during the dry season the weather goes low enough it is considered “cold” by the people who live there. Imagine going to bed at night with no heat in the room and a temperature down to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, or 7.2222 Celsius.
Valentine Waiti, a teenage girl from Malawi first appeared on this website in February 2019. Her smile at receiving a warm blanket was so impressive it has not been forgotten since the day it appeared. Far too many children go to bed at night in rooms that are 45 degrees or lower and do not have a warm blanket to hug close. For as little as $ 3.00, $4.00, or $5.00 a blanket can be purchased. Another option comes as you get out your winter blankets for you and your family. Is there one more blanket than you really need? What is the cost or value of a smile?