Rain is so important in Malawi's agriculture-based economy that there are names for different kinds of it, from the brief bursts of early fall to heavier downpours called mvula yodzalira, literally "planting rain." For generations, rainfall patterns here in the southeast part of Africa have been predictable, reliable. But not now.
In the village of Jasi, in the hot, flat valley of Malawi's Lower Shire, farmer Pensulo Melo says 2010 was a disaster.
Writer Paul Theroux can't shake Africa. Almost 50 years ago, he lived in the small central African nation of Malawi. Theroux was there for four years teaching English as a Peace Corps volunteer, and some of the most visceral details have stayed with him.
President of Malawi Joyce Banda attends a protest against abuse of women in January 2012.
Credit Thoko Chikondi / AP
The president of Malawi vowed to overturn her country's ban on homosexual acts.
The BBC reports that President Joyce Banda made the vow in her first address to Parliament.
"Some laws which were duly passed by the August house... will be repealed as a matter of urgency... these include the provisions regarding indecent practices and unnatural acts," Banda said according to the BBC.
Joyce Banda has become Malawi's first woman president after the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Credit Amos Gumulira / AFP/Getty Images
Malawi's first female president takes office with a personal history of women's rights advocacy and a long fight ahead. For Joyce Banda, economic empowerment is crucial for women's progress. It is also a nationwide struggle now resting on her shoulders.
Banda, who had been the country's vice president, was sworn in Saturday, following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika on Thursday.