Stories from the Malawi blogger meetup

I just got back from the first Malawi blogger lunch. It was great! Five of us showed up: Geeta, Jesse, Soyapi, Tess, and me. We shared a number of what I will call meta-blog stories - stories resulting from from our blogs and how people have responded to them. Tess was fairly freaked out to know that people besides her family and friends read her and Jim's blog (Geeta had brought her along). While most of the blogs started out as ways to communicate to people back home, Soyapi's is different and more directed at Malawians in the IT sector. Regardless, we all had experienced a moment (I think Tess was experiencing it during the lunch) when we realized that complete strangers were reading our blogs. It is a terrifying and exciting thing and for better or for worse it changes how and what you blog. The challenge is to continue being yourself and sharing whatever is on your mind, even if that means freaking out family, being controversial or revealing just how boring your life really is. This led to an interesting discussion about free speech, and criticizing the government and whether or not we feel free to do it. Geeta shared a fascinating story about a guy whose email was intercepted in Zambia. In the emails he had criticized the government to some friends back home and told his Mom his username and password for his Yahoo account. Since he was talking about passwords the government accused him of being a spy and deported him!

It was also great to just hang out with some geek minded people. At one point Soyapi was telling us about some Malawi specific Firefox extensions he had written, and he said, "you know Firefox?" - and everybody enthusiastically said "YES!"

We are hoping to make it a regular event, perhaps once a month or so. There are a lot more bloggers in Malawi that need to meet!

14 Response to Stories from the Malawi blogger meetup

  1. "At one point Soyapi was telling us about some Malawi specific Firefox extensions he had written..."

    Soyapi, can you make a blog entry on the details of these extensions, please?


  2. Allison Wall says:

    Hey, Jesse! Dad (Uncle Al) said this would be the best way to keep in touch with what's going on with you. I love your blog. In fact, several colleagues were quite fascinated with the information you shared on Malawi.

    Sorry to hear about your ankle. That's a drag.

    Here in Alaska, we have a few feet of snow and will definitely have a white Christmas... of the song variety.

  3. Soyapi says:


    I have blogged about the "Malawi specific Firefox extensions". To be precise, they are search plugins for Firefox's integrated search bar.
    Look out for real extensions in subsequent parts.

    Mike, thanks for the pics.

  4. Geeta says:


    I'm behind the times on this...have been trapped in meetings for days now. Great that you put up a such a funny post with photos! Will do the same soon :)

  5. [...] e is the one who finally got it organized (he blogged about it in more detail on his site, Hacktivate). So Tess, Jesse, Soyapi, Mike, and I had lunch at Mama [...]

  6. nchenga says:

    sounds like you had a lot of fun. Wish I could have been there!
    Are there any bloggers in Blantyre?


    I'm going to a Basel blogger meetup next week.

  7. Mike says:

    There is at least one Blantyre blogger and probably more. I think Jesse knows him/her. Maybe we can entice them up one for one of these.

  8. [...] nfecting sex partners, which is much more insidious and scary. Malawi: Mike of Hacktivate reports on Malawi’s first blogger meet up. Zim Pundit [...]

  9. Congratulations on your meeting!! Keep up the great work.

  10. Lindani Phiri says:

    Just been alerted to the existence of this site by Jeff ( thanks Jeff!!)
    I am originally from Malawi but currently in the US (if I can find one of those famed Malawian witch doctors to instantly teleport me back home I sure would like to make one of your future meetings!!).

    don't have my own blog yet ...


  11. Hi

    I am a late starter in the blogging world. I am based in Blantyre and have been living here since September 2005, running a children's hospital. I am keen to start blogging more. I have one buried on my website. We are looking to produce a website for the hospital soon and I want it to have both a blog and a street cam rigged up within it for more interest.

    I would like to meet up with any of you guys soon if that's possible. I am in Lilongwe for three days from 6th March to morning of the 9th, if any of you are based up there.



  12. Mike says:

    Stuart it would be great to meet you. Perhaps we can get a few bloggers together for a lunch or something.

  13. [...] at the moment. Sometime in December 2005 Geeta, Jesse, Soyapi, Tess, and Mike met for the very first Malawi blogger lunch in Lilongwe. They discussed a number of interesting issues. After that, Mike organized a braii for [...]

  14. I enjoy this site, it is worth me coming back

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