Charities and the Industry of Poverty

I read a painful comment yesterday PainfulOuchabout charities and I am going to share pieces here with a link.  It is NOT a comment about my time in Kenya specifically, but a comment about the developed world and it’s need to remain at the top of the human chain….and ignore its citizenry’s abuse of the people in the charity target countries, the poor and uneducated who live in thatched huts and so need our western ways and western systems and western money.  Except those are the very things bringing in the harm because the invasion is not monitored.

But let me back up a step ….. Jane Bussman…..stumbled upon her article as I trolled the media’s handling of one of our Kenyan cases.  I do not have her permission … yet… use her words, so read quickly in the event that my “ask later” policy backfires.  She has writing credits for our beloved South Park, Colorado’s addition to the comedy genre.  Brace yourselves, tender-spirited folk.

Jane Bussmann and her crass-cussing craziness hit home…..every single cuss word and all the words in between.   I will someday expand on my experience with charities and the Industry of Poverty, because indeed it is an industry like so many corporations globally, replete with fraud and lying and misuse of funds and manipulation of the giving public, capitalizing on our need to be “good” and fix our souls.

For now, let us share a few of the excerpts that hit homeruns.  The link at the end will allow you to read the full piece if you are so inclined.

I loved charities until I moved to Africa. In fact I wanted to work for a charity, any charity that would have me.

By charities, I don’t mean Mrs. Miggins and her mobile library van. Although there should be some authority somewhere on God’s green earth checking what Mr. Miggins is doing in the back of the van.

I landed in Northern Uganda, at a time when Joseph Kony’s kidnappers were picking off kids for sex slaves and the Ugandan army, when they could be arsed, were bombing the shit out of the kids and kidnappers alike. At first my hatred of charities was just a vague feeling. A sort of resentment of their total lack of urgency.  An industry that finessed posters making me feel I had to send them money immediately so they could fix an emergency – people were starving, people were dying, people were being kidnapped – seemed very unwilling to do anything other than hold meetings about it.  When I landed, I saw a bunch of fat bastards sat on their arses.

Eight years since I first wanted to work for a charity, I want the big ones banned.  If someone needs to be good professionally, you have to ask why. . . .

Why would someone need to be seen as good if they weren’t a giant asshole? . . .

Politicians love charities because giving a pittance to a children’s ward in Africa makes them look like good people when they’re closing children’s wards back home.

Another charity, this time for Kenyan street kids, the Gilgil Trust has seen it’s founder using the charity as a cover for his alleged child sex crimes [3].. . .

Charities need the poor more than the poor needs them. . . .

It’s a front.  A gut wrenchingly unpleasant front when it feeds off people who are really suffering.  The poverty industry needs hungry Africans.  Not the other way round.  [edits applied]

Jane Bussmann on charities: she moved to Africa to be a good person and ended up hating the professionally good.

Trust me when I tell you that your perception of “Africa” as a whole is probably VERY wrong if it comes from the media only.  But then again, their perception of you is vastly wrong.  During a Skype session in 2012 between my son and one of his friends in Colorado, I heard the comment, “You live in a sandbox, right?”

Very wrong perception if it comes from the media.

This is the topic in a comedy forum.  Can you imagine it in a more serious venue?

Listening notNobody would listen.

I have a name for this “good white man” thing going around in Africa…but you will have to wait a few more weeks…until justice takes its course in the UK.


Lovin’ the ‘Other guy” news!

Iheart small artistic love this news story this morning…..

US Looks Into Police Militarization Claims 

Why do I love a simple news article in an era of what I see as overzealous, highly inflammatory, misleading, attention-seeking, media-induced ignorance?  Well, I thought you’d never ask.   Let me tell you.

I love it for all its refreshingly simple, genuine, and honest parts.  I love it because it is a tempered response to a concern of the people….without photos of bloody, military-style police actions against children to get my attention.

Therefore, it got my attention.  SONY DSC

The media is informing us that our concerns about the government handling of its policing role are being taken somewhat seriously.  In Kenya anyway, that never happened.  The people have learned, in fact, to be quiet and keep the peace when the traffic police stop you on the road and extract money from you to keep you out of the court.  You know from experience that if you take it to court, you will lose.  You pay the money.  Nothing more is ever discussed.  Laws are passed, people scream briefly about the injustice, but the status quo returns.

You wanna know why people on the other side of this big marble want to live here?  I will tell you first hand that is is emphatically NOT because of the wealth, though we do have what appears to be wealth to them (mostly debt-induced acquisitions, really).

It is because the American people have compassion and individually give of themselves and their wealth, and the stereotype in East Africa is that Americans are good and caring people…individually.  beKind-landing-featureBob EvansThey help feed hungry mouths, they help clothe cold and naked bodies.  Forget “government” for a minute.  I am talking the individual people, like the grandma down the street or the missionary family across town or the grade school friend on Facebook.  On the eastern coast of the African continent, the mere color of your skin, a white “mzungu”, puts you into the general category of “kind and benevolent.”  But if you are American, your status elevates to one who cares and is very giving.  One whose country cares for its people.  That view comes into direct conflict, of course, with the thought that all Americans live lives consistent with the movie industry’s presentations.  Nonetheless, they know that if they are dying on a street and a “mzungu” approaches, God has spared them, and if an American, then all the more grace has been given them.  The touch of your hand upon the crown of their baby brings a lifetime of blessing to that child.  It is the ultimate gift in some of the outlying tribes really.

So, Cynthia, why does all of this matter with regard to that headline about militarization?

Well, dear reader, because….because this media headline is not screaming inflammatory social injustice.  It screams not one iota about “all” police everywhere extending their authority to hurt minorities.

What is says is this:  American people, your protest has caused them to at least believe there is an issue and look at it.

And you know what?  THAT headline is not in any American news outlet, at least not yet, and that is what makes it so beautiful to me.  CNN’s headline this morning: “REPORT: MH17 hit by high-energy objects”.   Fox News headline: US, European intelligence agencies race to track western ISIS fighters.”  See, in an American outlet, you could make the valid argument that it was being used to sway the American mindset to keep our own status quo.

Al_Jazeera_Media_NetworkBut this headline was found on Al Jazeera….the Muslim-leaning news outlet, eh….   Scary….

Where by many mid-west American accounts I’ve seen and heard around town and on Facebook anyway, the LAST thing they would want to do is try to keep the Americans believing in themselves and their government…yet there it sits, headlining the news this September 9th, 2014.  Inflammatory on my part, I know. 🙂