Malawi has a motto — "the warm heart of Africa" — that's flourished on banners at the airport in the capital, Lilongwe. A first-time visitor takes a look at the tropical splendor of the land and sky and tends to agree with that guidebook-ese description.
To the journalists arriving there after being expelled from nearby Zimbabwe (see page 10), it seemed a marvelous greeting. But hospitality was halted at immigration by a letter from the Zimbabwean authorities, sent with the passports, which repeated the claim that the group on this Lutheran World Federation press trip was made up of individuals seeking to cause disruption. It took Joseph Bvumbwe, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi, nearly an hour to convince authorities to allow the five to enter the country.
"We like to say that Malawi is 'the warm heart of Africa,' " the bishop said as he briefed the group later. "But right now it's a bit hot here."
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