Friday, December 11, 2009

Feeding Africa

(credentials: I have traveled to Ethiopia 4 times, eaten, slept, danced and prayed with the people, married one and brought her back to the USA, I also
mingle and socialize freely with Africans here.)

The predominant approach to the societies of sub-saharan Africa by the USA and western European nations has consisted mainly of sending food relief, to a lesser extent sending medicine, and sending a few missionaries who hole out in the local Hilton and force-feed the gospel. The justification for sending food rather than cash is that corrupt governments would steal the cash. Sending food has the dual effect of propping up first world agribusinesses by buying their surpluses, while crushing native farmers by flooding their markets.
For the past decade China has been exerting a greater and greater presence. I hear the same story over and over from my friends and acquaintances. The Chinese build roads, build schools, build hydroelectric dams and steel mills and mines.
They also immigrate in much greater numbers, enough to begin to sway the cultures.

I understand compassion. Children are cute, suffering children are heartbreaking. However, before you lift a finger to act, I strongly recommend the following exercise:

Plan to do this for a whole season. Set aside a time of day when you can buy a loaf of bread and take it to the park, every day. Once there, start to feed the few pigeons (or ducks, or sparrows, or whatever ...). give them bread until they stop begging for it. Then come back the next day.
After just a very few days, you should notice that the birds start to anticipate your arrival, recognize you, and eagerly look forward to their meal. You should also be noticing that they increase in number.
After a couple of weeks, you should be finding that you are now attracting large numbers of birds, quite a few more than you had ever seen in that park before.
You will begin to notice that a few of the other humans using the park may become a bit annoyed. You may notice that the bird droppings are increasing in the area and the odor is definitely deteriorating. In fact, if you continue in your daily routine for very much longer, your activities are very likely to come to the attention of the local constabulary. Depending on your demeanor, they will either politely or less politely find the means to persuade you to cease.
Through all of this, it may be an issue here as to if you have any intelligence and free thought. If that is the case, then it is likely to dawn on you that your efforts to fix a problem, i.e. hunger, have actually been encouraging the birds to be fruitful and multiply, as well as to invite all of their friends and relations. Thus your actions actually have the opposite effect of your original intention.
At least, I would certainly hope so.

No comments: