A large assembly of Lilongwe Communities with delegations from Mzuzu city and Zambia marked the day of celebration. Marco Impagliazzo, starting from the memory of independence, reflected on the role of the Community so that the independence of Malawi may be fulfilled every day in a common commitment for peace in the country, and liberation from all those obstacles still oppressing so many elderly, women and children.
On 6 July 1964, Nyasaland, the 'land of the lake' as the small sub-Saharan country was called, achieved full independence as Malawi. A peaceful transition to independence from the United Kingdom, yet it lasted only a short time. Just two years later Malawi began a slow but inexorable erosion of its fragile democracy towards a dictatorship. The country isolated from the world until 1994 when free elections were held. Lilongwe, a small trading centre with a population of 20,000, became capital in 1975. It has now a population of 1.2 million. In the last ten years, huge residential areas have been built in the suburbs expanding the borders of the city which has been experiencing the contradictions of a rapid and chaotic development. Sant'Egidio has recently extended its presence in some of these new neighbourhood, including Kawale, where there is a Community centre, and Area 25, which has recently become like a city within the city.
Sant'Egidio's presence accompanies the lives of children with the School of Peace and many lonely and sick elderly people who find in the Community's new centre - a large tent so far - a family and a safe haven that counteracts the culture of throw away and marginalization they suffer. Here Marco Impagliazzo met the Youth for Peace, the children and a delegation of elderly people. Then he paid a significant visit to the Ndzaleka refugee camp where 56,000 people live - refugees from the Great Lakes region. A Community was born in the camp five years ago on the initiative of some refugees who had already met Sant'Egidio in Kivu. There is now a very busy School of Peace in the camp and a service to support and be close to the most vulnerable elderly.