The never ending story?
At the moment we see daily reports from the crisis in the Horn of Africa. Almost as often, one hears Danes comment on the fact that they do not support aid agencies because it is of no use as the help does not arrive. But is the work in Africa, the never-ending story? Is there any progress?
I have traveled to Kenya for a little over five years and I can clearly see an improvement. Back then; Nairobi was full of street children. They are gone now and have been offered school attendance. When I first had to travel from Nairobi to Kisii it was slow journey and by bus. The roads were in such a poor condition that the bus sometimes had to go all the way down into the ditch to get past the holes in the road.
Now rush off on fine paved roads and have only half the travel time. There is now free school attendance. Health clinics offer free vaccines for children and the work with HIV and AIDS has come a long way.
Every city has Internet cafés. Also the "private" computers are gaining more Internet access and every day the locals are becoming more and more globalized. By the year 2030, Kenya has great plans to have a functioning society with a functioning infrastructure as well as hospitals and schools.
In the Western world, we consider it as normal that everything just works by means of our tax money. In Kenya, you pay not so much in taxes because many are living as day workers and daily live of the small money they can earn.
This new African world has only been created due to the massive help from the West. An aid that we should be proud of and happy to give! Then one can naturally ask themselves how it could be that conditions so wrong the Horn of Africa? Why has it not improved?
Furthermore, there is nothing left to mention but the fact that the gap between the rich and the poor has widened in the modern Kenya and that the region is extremely poor.
Previously, efforts have focused on the fact that every family should be able take care of themselves, with small farming, instead of creating jobs and generating growth. That's why it goes so wrong when the rains fail and families cannot support themselves. Simultaneously, there has been a tradition for every family should have many children who subsequently also had to be supported. The tradition is at a turning point thanks to the youth's globalization.
The hope is, that when the young people are going to attend school, there will be new traditions. I do not think it's the never-ending story but perhaps a very thick book that is being told - and to me it seems that it will even have a "happy ending".
Throughout the debate, I think that there has been a lack of focus on the fact that this is about human lives just like yours and mine. So I can only urge everyone to support one of the major organizations and I think in this regard that Red Barnes motto is so revealing:
"Nobody can save everyone but everyone can save someone...."