It was a sad site to see – an empty football pitch without a blade of green grass. It reminded me of my one and only visit to Tannadice in the 1970’s. The pitch is in the village of Bandawe and there were a few children around and so we got talking. Paul, one of the older boys, explained that they didn’t have a football to play with because, “It’s been some time since they ran the family planning clinic.” I actually knew what he meant since I’d seen this before: the condoms handed out at the clinics can be woven into quite a decent football! I guess it helps the football team and also ensures that there are more young players for the future.
A few days earlier, in the The Nation newspaper, I’d seen the advert below. I don’t think I should comment on it other than to say that it wasn’t a job advert! It’s hard to imagine The Herald or The Scotsman running an ad like that.
There is a series side to this though. The population in Malawi is growing fast and the current 20 million population is estimated to reach 29 million by 2034 (UN figures). That’s a lot more mouths to feed. This is not lost on us in our work to increase the intensity of farming and push up crop yields. The Malawi Government is actually doing excellent work on education about family planning and the growth rate may yet slow down, but ensuring an ongoing supply of nutritious food remains a priority.
At Chinteche, the children were excited and intrigued about the new polytunnels springing up around them. Hopefully these new technologies will provide both food and jobs for them in the future. Then maybe they can afford to buy a proper football.