The state of things

[Edit: 12:30 pm There is a third teacher here besides myself and Mr. Alexander. She had to walk from her house to get to the campus. She said that there were police firing live bullets at a group of young men, not too far from the school. She also said that police had taken part in the burning and looting- taking some items, setting fire to the place, and then leaving. Also, I was having class outside with my students when we heard gunfire. We also smelled something that smelled like burning tires, but burned our throats. It’s possible that we caught a wiff of tear gas, as there have been reports of police marching in the streets again. Things are quiet here at the moment, but please pray. We are safe here on campus, and not worried for ourselves, but for the people outside these walls.]

[Edit: 7:30 am One of the gardeners lives in area 23 in Lilongwe, about an hour’s bicycle ride away from the campus. He said it is like a war zone there. The banks are burned and gutted, and some grocery stores as well. There are many soldiers still in the area. Please be praying for this country- its government and the people who have lost family members yesterday.]

For awhile now, we knew something was going to happen. There’s been a one-day protest planned for quite some time. It was supposed to be a peaceful march/rally sort of thing against the president. However, things didn’t quite happen that way.

The way I understand it, the protest was about the lack of government action towards the fuel crisis and some other problems that are happening here in Malawi. As I said earlier, it had been planned for quite some time for the 20th of July. But then, about a week ago, the president announced that he was going to be giving a lecture on the 20th. And of course, if the president is giving a lecture, you shouldn’t be protesting on the same day. I’m sure that didn’t make people very happy.

The morning of the 20th, word got out that there had been a court injunction against the protest, and that made people even more upset with the way things were. So the protest began, and we began to hear of buildings burned (apparently the people and places that supported the president were targeted) and people arrested for protesting and even of people who were killed here in Lilongwe. And when the president went to give his speech, the power mysteriously went out in the presidential palace, and the backup generators weren’t working. So no one could hear or watch the planned broadcast.

Eventually things got back online, and the broadcast continued. But as we watched and listened (in Chichewa, so I had very little idea what was going on), we began to smell some rather stinky smoke from burning tires. And people began shouting and yelling right outside our wall. They stopped after sundown though, and this morning it seems like everything is back to normal. I can hear vehicles driving by on the road outside the wall. So hopefully things will be back to normal today. We shall see.

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