Just some links to a few articles and videos that might be relevant to anyone ‘working’ in Aid. I hope to try and constantly challenge the ‘purpose’ of what I am doing here (mainly through putting ‘things’ in quotation marks as some sort of catch-all disclaimer). Reading this has made me reconsider what I am writing in this blog, what I am trying to convey –
I hope my writing doesn’t come across as ‘pity shit’. I do pity many of the people who live in my village, yet I don’t see pity as a solely pejorative term, and I certainly don’t pity everyone in Gambia. Is it wrong for someone who has more – more material wealth, more opportunities – to pity someone who has less but is just as deserving? I’m not sure, is pity that different from empathy? From sympathy? Is wanting to help people less privileged than yourself contemptuous? Is it only contemptuous when you do it abroad?
I often wonder about what generosity here entails. I try and be as generous with my time and material wealth as I would be to anybody I meet when I am living in village. It’s difficult, I worry about motivation, I worry about how people will treat me (I don’t want to be a meal ticket, but I can be a meal ticket), I worry about giving something for nothing. I fight my arrogance and objectification, often unsuccessfully.
The Gambia is definitely a Hippo.
And as any good post about Africa should talk about wildlife and as proof that I probably haven’t learned anything from what I’ve read – I saw fifteen hippos last week on the river. Kerblow.