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The Republic of Malawi is a country located in Southeastern Africa. Formerly called Nyasaland, Malawi is bordered by Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique. The country is one of Southeastern Africa's most densely populated areas. Its capital, Lilongwe, is home to more than 400,000 people. However, Lilongwe is not the most densely populated city in Malawi, as Blantyre is home to more than 600,000 people.
Malawi hosts the third-largest lake in all of Africa, called Lake Malawi or Lake Nyasa. In fact, this lake ranks number 10 in size throughout the entire world. It accounts for approximately 1/5 of Malawi’s area. The country is also known for the Great Rift Valley, which spans vertically through its territory. It is within this deep pocket that Lake Malawi runs.
Subtropical weather marks the country's climate. It has a definite rainy season that extends from November through April. However, from May through October, the country sees very little to no rain. October through April is hot and humid, particularly along the lake, in Lilongwe, and within the Lower Shire Valley. Other parts of the country see warm temperatures, but less heat and humidity, from October through April.
June through August brings warm temperatures to the area surrounding the lake and the far southern portion of the country. The rest of the country, however, sees rather chilly temperatures in the evenings and into the night. During this time, temperatures range from 41 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit (5 to –14 degrees Celsius). As far as the outdoors is concerned, Malawi has its own system of parks. It has five national parks in all.
Malawi's population is largely impoverished, a problem that has a catastrophic effect on life expectancy. Sadly, the average life expectancy of a native Malawian is just 36.5 years. This is due, in part, to the lack of proper nutrition, poor access to medical treatment, and low average income of the country's citizens. Some people believe the low life expectancy can also be attributed to the misuse of donations coming from other countries. Also, it is impossible to overlook the spread of HIV/AIDS as one of the causes of the lower life expectancy.
The situation for children is just as dismal. Malawi's child mortality rate is about 103 per every 1,000 children. As of 2003, there were more than a million orphans in the country. Many of these children lost their parents to AIDS. Besides disease, the country's children and adults alike cannot help but be affected by the famines that have repeatedly bled the country.