General Malawi-related

British journalist in Malawi

Read Gwyneth Rees’ report on working for The Chronicle in Lilongwe.

[…] when freedom of the press is supposedly guaranteed under the constitution, journalists should not have to rely on the say-so of one man to go about their business.

[update Jan 11, 2005] Here’s another article: Demoted from editor to delivery girl, overnight


text snippets

  • UK deports Zim asylum seekers – one million Zimbabweans are estimated to be living and working, some of them illegally, in Britain.
  • English version of available at
  • What is your favourite African song? Nominate your favorite African produced song here.

Earthquake in southern Germany

And I didn’t notice a thing…

Epicenter: near Waldkirch / Emmendingen.
Measured 5.4 on the Richter scale.
See also: Spiegel

Report your earthmoving experience. Fill out the form at:

They’re also interested to hear from you, if you did NOT feel the earthquake.

General Malawi-related

dreaming of Lake Malawi

On rainy and stormy days there is little to do. Listening to music and reading have their limits. It is then that the housebound mind takes its own journeys, unfettered by time or place. One sails, once again in the Philippines’ Camotes Sea, walks on England’s moors, swims in Lake Malawi, kneels in Vienna’s Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, strolls the Via Veneto in Rome, dines in a Paris bistro – all without moving from one’s chair.

Source: The Sun Herald, Mississippi

Added advantage of this form of travelling: you don’t need to worry about getting malaria and bilharzia. Nevertheless, I still prefer the real experience!


recent cultural activities

Visited the Monet exhibition in Zurich. It focuses on his garden paintings.
Monets Garden

I really enjoyed the ArchiSkulptur exhibition at the Beyeler Foundation.

Today’s gospel concert at the Theodorkirche was great.

General ist das Werkzeug…

Wer sich dennoch mit den neuen Gepflogenheiten
näher befassen möchte, dem sei ans Herz gelegt:
Einfach ein Wort wie z. B. Gämse eintippen und auf
«Suche» drücken. Das Wort wird nun der entsprechenden
neuen Regel zugeordnet. Im Falle der Gämse wäre dies die
Schreibregel «Stammprinzip-Umlautbildung».
Diese Regel wird nun leicht verständlich und mit
Beispielen erläutert. nimmt dabei sogar auf
regionale Gepflogenheiten wie Schweizerisch oder à”“sterreichisch
Rücksicht, deren Schreibweisen ja in gewissen
Fällen abweichen dürfen.

General recipe

Basler Brunsli

Apparently the Basel German word for biscuits/cookies/Kekse is Gutzi and not Gutzli.
I was fairly confident that the bakery at the supermarket across the road from my office had introduced a typo.
Turns out it’s not a typo. In my part of Switzerland, people say Gutzi, while in the Zurich area they say Gutzli.

Anyway… i’ve started to search the net for a good recipe for Basler Brunsli. I’ll try out the recipe in the next couple of days/weeks. And post a summary of my findings.

Basler Brunsli

200 g dunkle Schokolade gerieben
250 g Zucker
250 g Mandeln, nicht geschälte, fein gehackt
3 Eiweiss
2 EL, gestr., Kartoffelmehl
2 Msp. Zimt
1 Msp. Nelken


Eiweiss zu Schnee schlagen und nach und nach mit den restlichen Zutaten vermischen, bis ein Teig entsteht. Den Teig wenn möglich 1-2 h an einem kühlen Ort ruhen lassen.
Den Teig dann auf einem mit Zucker bestreuten Brett kurz kneten und in 3-4 Stücke teilen. Die Stücke auf Zucker 1 cm hoch auswallen und beliebige Formen ausstechen. Die ausgestochenen Formen auf ein mit Backpapier ausgelegtes Backblech legen und über Nacht trocknen lassen. Dann 3-5 Min. bei 200 Grad backen. Sie sollten aussen fest und innen feucht sein.

General Malawi-related

lead the way

[Linguistic nit-picking on a Friday evening]

Stumbled across the word bakkie in this article:
To celebrate 35 years of the Toyota Hilux bakkie on the African market including Malawi, Toyota is also displaying the Toyota Hilux Legend35 double cab with chrome bull-bars and anti-roll bars.

In Malawi, the term pick-up is more commonly used to refer to lightweight trucks. Bakkie is very South African. I guess, the reporter just copied the press release / marketing collateral.


ticino weekend

sono tornata a Lugano per un weekend.

a sunny and warm day on Monte Bre

Un espresso, per favore!

ristorante in sight

dolce fare absolutamente niente su Monte Bre.

dolce fare absolutamente niente


Quote of the Day

Juergen Klopp, football coach of 1. FSV Mainz 05, said

Leidenschaft und Bereitschaft sind bei uns immer da – was kann da schon passieren? Schlechtestenfalls verlieren. Aber das nimmt uns, solange wir kämpfen, in Mainz keiner übel.

Source: Focus


Tinguely Museum, Basel

Weather has been very rainy and cold here. I spent yesterday afternoon at the Tinguely Museum… some snapshots:

Close-up of Niki de Saint Phalle Sculpture

Close-up of a Niki de Saint Phalle sculpture in the museum park… could be South African from the colours.

View of the adjoining park

And here’s the full view.

View of the museum building from the park

The museum was built by Mario Botta. I particularly like the view from inside the building over the Rhein.

And the Luginbuehl sculpture ...


Hopes of malaria vaccine by 2010

The vaccine was used to protect 2,022 children in Mozambique and cut the risk of developing severe malaria by 58%.


message from the admin

upgraded to wp 1.2.1

In addition, I’ve managed to find a solution to the escaping comment form problem in IE.

I replaced 100% by 400px in the css controlling the text area field:

#commentform textarea {
width: 400px;

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, sorry to late… the admin has fixed it! For IE and Opera, I hope, pray and believe. Still need to check it in Firefox. Going jogging now…

[update Oct 10] I’ve been changing the css settings and have started customizing some of the php files.
If something doesn’t work, please leave a comment below. Please let me know how the comment form behaves in your browser. Does the comment form still expand to infinity when you start typing?

BTW, we’ve got perfect chiperoni weather in Basel today! Constant drizzle and fog.

General Learning Italian

Mailand oder Madrid – Hauptsache Italien *

I came across a number of Italian language links this week:

* The former German national football player Andreas Möller supposedly said this in an interview.


dog abandoned at supermarket

Apparently somebody abandoned (or forgot?) a puppy at the supermarket opposite of our office. There was a quite a commotion… The police came to pick up the young dog. The puppy looked really forlorn and lost. Poor guy. Cos he didn’t want to follow or wasn’t used to walking on a leash, the policeman ended up carrying him to the police van.

I wonder why somebody would abandon their dog like that…

In the same way that some people over-exaggerate and treat their pets like children, others fail to recognize that animals are not objects that you can simply throw away at will.


wir bieten die beste grammatik an

search for wir bieten die beste grammatik an

blogging General

The Use of a Blog

Today i found out how useful old blog postings can be. Wanted to remove some Moire patterns from a newspaper scan and i knew that I had posted an entry on my old blog site. I get to minimize Moire patterns once a year at the most… and I easily forget which filter gives the best results. These days most scanners have an option to remove Moire patterns automatically… this scanner didn’t.

Note to myself: your blog can be useful to store tidbits of information you don’t always need. Esp. if you regularly work on more than one computer. I find that no matter how much you organize yourself, the info you’re looking for is bound to be on your other computer. Plus: somebody else might find your notes helpful.

Maybe this may seem obvious to you and not worth an entry. But I believe one of today’s challenges is managing information. Who would have thought a couple of years back, that your email archive is a reason to get a larger hard disk and more back-up space? Just cos people are afraid to trash emails which might have some useful info. Or cos they require a fallback if other systems have failed.

My blog is a sort of online scrap book, where I collect links, develop ideas, make notes, display photos and publish my views. Nothing really important. But it’s nice to see it’s useful as well… It’s also a fun way to keep up-to-date with current web technology. I can see how a RSS feed could be useful to distribute the company press releases and news I write during my day job.

BTW, I wasn’t really planning to migrate my old blog entries to my new home… 😉


Online Tutorials

list of useful online tutorials for sql, html, php, css
at scriptygoddess


The mitsubishi ad

One of the regular highlights of a Malawi visit is driving the Mitsubishi 4wd pick-up. It’s a solid vehicle, ideal for Malawi road conditions. And it’s fun to drive…

Close up of the Mitsubishi

But I did manage to lose grip in this ditch…

No grip


Yet another Mitsubishi Photo

General swiss wikipedia

freie sicht aufs mittelmeer

Here’s an interesting production playing at the Theater Basel.

The stage is the streets of Basel…
I saw an interview with Dani Levy, and I’m planning to go see the show.

[Update Saturday Oct 30] I managed to get hold of a ticket despite the fact that the show is sold out for the season. Sometimes it helps to voice your leisure plans at work…

The play starts in the courtyard of the city prison. Headphones and rain capes are distributed. And then the entire set, audience, sound and light engineers move from building to building in the St. Johann’s Quartier of Basel. Video and live scenes mix. And there’s an excellent use of the real setting. At times I felt I was witnessing real disputes as a passer-by, in other cases I felt I was watching a movie.

Highly recommended. A great show! Different but not too experimental. Plus you get to know another part of Basel…

See also: NZZ | Wikipedia


about returning to africa

The idea of returning is a dream that teases and torments many African expatriates.


What is Chiperoni?

If you’re from Blantyre, you are familiar with this word. 

What is the meaning of Chiperoni?

  • It’s the name of a drizzle rain in Malawi.

Here’s an official definition by the meteorological department:

Chiperoni: Malawian name for influx of cool moist air from the south east, bringing overcast conditions with drizzle on windward slopes along the Northern lakeshore and in particular to many areas in the South of Malawi. This phenomenon can persist for up to a week but the usual duration is two to three days.

Source: Malawi Meteorological Services

There’s a mountain in Mocambique called Chiperoni or sometimes spelled Chiperone. When the winds blow the clouds over this mountain, the Shire Highlands get chiperoni weather.

Sometimes chiperoni forces a change in travel plans. The constant drizzle can turn gravel roads into a soap-like mud adventure.

It’s also used as a brand name. There used to be a blanket factory in Thyolo called Chiperoni. The factory has closed down or moved but the brand name still exists. (update 28.05.07: it seems they are still producing Chiperoni blankets).

Chiperoni is one of my favorite words. I like the sound of it. Chiperoni could also be a spicy chili snack or the name of a hot, new, hi-tech gadget. From Chip + Peperoni.

For now, it’s the new home of my Malawi blog.

I saw this sign advertising “Chiperoni blankets” in Blantyre.

chiperoni blankets available here

Phalombe Road (August 2004)

Phalombe Road

View of Mount Mulanje from Phalombe Road

Travelling from Phalombe to Mulanje



I’ve started playing around with the css…
I’m very much in “playground mode”. Everything is in transition…
And this process will take some time. Cos my day job also involves sitting in front of “The Great Monitor” for hours on end, I try to use my free time to recover from the side effects of working long hours. Essentially this means it will be a while before the design is final (don’t know about final…. maybe “has settled” is what I mean). Apologies for hurting designer eyes along the way… BTW, if you know of some cool links or have some advise, please feel free to comment below.

I’ve started by defining a color scheme and I’ve prepared a basic design in Photoshop.

The current colors:


The file to change is wp-layout.css.
I find these links useful:

wp-layout explained – description of the css file

css explained – step by step procedure

I’m using a text editor and Dreamweaver 4 to change the code.

Can’t decide on a font yet… I’ve tried Verdana.

[update Jan 11, 2005] found this link on building full CSS layouts


the last wave

saw Peter Weir’s “The Last Wave” at the Stadtkino yesterday evening.