OBSERVATION – AID IN AFRICA

A message from Theo Kuster:
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Just re-read and found these quotes: in a book by Theroux:

OBSERVATION – AID IN AFRICA:
“We’ll do it for you!!”
Some quotations from a book by Paul Theroux

“Sometimes the observations of a person what a different point of view are very interesting. Paul Theroux traveled overland from Cairo to Cape Town, and wrote Dark Star Safari in 2003. He attempted to stay off the beaten path. He often ran into missionaries and aid workers. Here are some of his observations.

Even the most prosperous town in this part of Kenya had the bight signboards and relief agencies, the offices and supply depots — people doling out advice and food and condoms. The merchandise of the gang of virtue. . . .

Maybe such places attracted missionaries and aid workers because they were so pleasant to live in. Maybe communications were better here than in the remote bush. Whenever I saw a town that looked tidy and habitable I saw the evidence of foreign charites: Oxfam, Project Hope, the Hunger Project, Food for Africa, SOS Children’s Villages, Charitas, and many others, with the saintly names and the new white Land Rover or Land Cruiser parked in front. . . .

Mine is not a complaint, merely an observation, because hearing horror stories about uneducated starving Africans, most American or Europeans become indignant and say, “Why doesn’t someone do something about it?” Since the Kenya government cared so little about the well-being of its people, concerns such as health and education had been taken up by sympathetic foreigners. . . . These organizations had grown out of disaster relief agencies but had become multinational institutions, permanent fixtures of welfare and services.

I wondered, really wondered, why this was all a foreign effort, why Africans were not involved in helping themselves.

An entire library of worthy books describe at best the uselessness, at worst the serious harm, brought about by aid agencies.”

Theroux, Paul. Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston/New York, 2003, pp.191-2.