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Covering Clinton in Africa, Day 2

Not even the 42nd US president could escape Africa's logistical difficulties, but Malawians were patient.

By Danna HarmanCorrespondent of The Christian Science Monitor / July 20, 2007



Neno, Malawi

Today started early, 4:30 a.m. to be exact.

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We split up into two private airplanes, with the press leaving South Africa first, en route to Malawi. Our plane ride – which came complete with an in-flight full size bed, a shower, and breakfast of fresh fruit and cream – was far, far more pleasant than any flight I have been on in my life.

President Clinton and the others, however, were not so lucky, as their plane broke down before taking off in Johannesburg. Not even the 42nd US President is immune to the difficulties of moving about in Africa.

Thus began Clinton's day of waiting, plane chartering, and improvising a new schedule, as we – the press – remained waiting on the runway in Blantyre, Malawi.

I tell you, though, if you are ever going to be stuck on a plane ... I highly recommend this one.

Finally, around 1pm, the majority of us took off in helicopters (the whole country only has three helicopters, so not everyone had room) and landed in the small village of Neno, to look at various projects being run there by the Clinton Foundation, together with the Boston-based Partners in Health organization.

Clinton toured the site of a new hospital, talked to local farmers, and visited a new housing project, but the overzealous Clinton advance staff kept the journalists pretty far away from all the actual goings on, to be honest.

So, I spent my afternoon, like most of the rest of the Malawians there, just standing back and watching from afar ...

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