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My Malawi Journal [Paperback]

Bea Buckley
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 Jan 2003
My Malawi Journal is a travelogue in which the writer narrates her rich experiences of Malawi, a small landlocked country in east central Africa. As a Peace Corps volunteer, the author lives with her adopted village family and gains first-hand knowledge of the hard rural life. A simple and chronological account, of the day-to-day activities of the narrator, gives the reader an insight into the widespread poverty and hunger that exists amongst a large population of the world.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: G2 Rights (13 Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931456488
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931456487
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.9 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,107,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

2.0 out of 5 stars
2.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My Malawi Journal 21 Oct 2009
As a Malawian who has read the book, I must say that I found that the book is not about Malawi and Malawians. It is a self-absorbed and neurotic account of the author's stay in Malawi. Those who read it must view it that way! The author is self-absorbed by her personal experiences in Malawi. It does very little to describe Malawi and Malawians. In the few times that the author bothers to describe Malawi and Malawians, it is the poverty that comes through and permeates the book. This book makes for depressing reading. Granted, Malawi is a poor country (in fact one of the poorest in the world, that is common knowledge) but Malawians are more than just poor. Malawians have a culture, families and communities. That is absolutely missing in the book. I would say that people who want to come to Malawi should expect to see shocking poverty. But they will also see a distinct culture and society, cohesive communities and families, a population that is hungry for education and makes do with little resources and few complaints. This does not come through in this book. Please all of you praising this book, be honest and call it what it is - a self-absorbed musing and neurotic description of the author's stay in Malawi. It is not about Malawi, it is about her. You will learn very little about Malawi from this book. Don't buy it expecting to learn about Malawi. What you will learn from this book is a self-absorbed and neurotic description of the author's stay in Malawi. Reading the book, I wondered why she even bothered to come to Malawi and why she stayed that long if she was so fearful about her health. There are better and more honest books about Malawi out there. Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This was an out of date neurotic rant from a precious hypochondriacal American woman who should never have been selected by the Peace Corps and was clearly not cut out for this trip. I could have hit her when she " passed on the egg" at one breakfast. Had she no idea what an egg would have cost her hosts.
It was written in 1996. Malawi is a peaceful poor but amazingly beautiful country, none of which you hear from the book nor the lovely laughter and fun of the people. All you get is what her bowels are doing and how many times she went to the chim!!. I read it to get some idea of where I was going, but all I learnt was what a chitenji is.
Malawi is a progressive country with mobile phones and ATMs with an educated population who are very keen to increase their learning.
Plaese please do not continue to recommend this odious book which will put people off travelling to that lovely country.
Helen Robinson
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shocking in its ignorance 10 Oct 2011
I found this book shocking in its ignorance. I went to Malawi this summer to help with teacher training, and found the people to be welcoming, forward thinking and keen to strive to move their country forwards. The people were warm and friendly and open their hearts and all that they had, which obviously was very little, to us. If only this was true of the ignorant woman who wrote this, who evidently was not cut out for rural Africa and the everyday realities of living there. Malawi is the warm heart of Africa, there is stunning scenery and wonderful people, yet this self-obsessed woman just rants incessantly and irrelevantly. If you want to know Malawi, just get on a plane and go, you will learn nothing from this book.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative. 1 May 2005
A talented writing style. Contains details and tips for living in Malawi. A must-read for aspiring mission workers. The author's struggle in picking up the language is perhaps repeated and described too many times, but then what else do we expect from a journal? The book concentrates on the author's personal concerns in coping with daily survivial (e.g. sanitary facilities, health, laundry and food), rather than the local people, custom and environment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1.3 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Peace Corps Failure 19 Dec 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Bea Buckley's approaches her Peace Corps experience with trepidation and a kind of self-imposed ageism. Though no doubt well-intentioned, she worries and whines during her few months in Malawi concerned with toothpaste and clean underwear. Only once--this when she is waiting for a ride to the airport to go home after qutting--does she allow herself to see the beauty and possibilities of the country. Whether the Peace Corps failed her by not screening its candidates properly or whether Buckley failed herself hardly matters. Overwhelmed by depression and worries about physical illness, she cannot continue. Her family, for whom she claims this book is written, should never have allowed her to pubish it. The writing is atrocious, needs editing, and the product is not what it claims to be--about the poverty and hunger in a Third World country. It is about a woman who is so self-involved that she cannot see beyond her own minor discomfort (on a bus, with the food, outhouse, darkness, even Athlete's foot!) to allow herself the compassion necessary to identify with those more needy than she. As a reader older than Buckley, I resented her ageism. As a person who has frequently traveled to impoverished countries, I found her desperation (She brushed her teeth with perfumed soap, for heaven's sake!) pathetic.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Poor Account 28 Aug 2004
By Kathleen Gurnett - Published on
This book badly needed editing once the inexplicable decision was made to publish it. Buckley does not give us a sense of the history of the country, the political situation, environmental problems or anything else connected to Malawi. Most of the text (laden with exclamation points tagging the most trivial observations) is concerned with the author's intestinal problems; thus the claim that the book is about Malawi is misleading and the title should have been "My Truncated Experiences with the Peace Corps in a Generic African Country." Truly a squandered opportunity.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worthless 28 Oct 2007
By G. Perkins - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are interested in the Peace Corps and/or Malawi, avoid this work. Filled with misspellings and completely lacking in content and depth, this book is a waste of time.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How not to be an effective, strong, resourceful human being. 22 Jan 2008
By Tenley Schofield - Published on
In a way, this book is a superb treatise on how to take a miserably short-sighted, self-centric stance in unfamiliar or potentially frightening circumstances. It is a book about how to cling to your native customs and standards of cleanliness; how to forget that you are but a temporary visitor, while the neighbors have no recourse but to endure their conditions for their foreseeable futures. The book describes in frequently minute and often awkwardly-worded detail how to, through a variety of doubtlessly well-intentioned but poorly considered methods, set one's self up for failure. This is a text on how to sweat the small stuff.

I think all travelers have moments when they are appalled, uncertain, sick -- when they simply want to go home. Recalling a few pages from this book goes a long way, in my own moments, towards reminding me how juvenile, small, and unworthy those thought-patterns typically are. Page through this book in the library, if you ever get a chance, and take a moment to internalize a couple of the life lessons the author chose to ignore.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really? Someone wanted to publish this? 22 Jan 2010
By A Future PCV - Published on
As a Peace Corps volunteer who will be serving in Malawi shortly, I was so excited to get this book for Christmas and I read it right away. Although it was very insightful, brutally honest (ie- I can't even count the number of bowel mentionings), and written in everyday language (this includes multiple grammatical errors), I just can't see why anyone would want to publish a journal such as hers.

So yes, if you are interested in the Peace Corps, are in the application process, or already nominated for a certain region, particularly Africa, I would definitely not suggest this book, unless you are 100% sure you want to go and would like to read up on the culture of Malawi and what the PC happenings looks like. If you are looking for motivation or encouragement to go overseas and dive into another culture and way of life, pass on this book.
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