Can I really make a change in just 3 weeks of volunteering? And mind me, it’s not 3 weeks by choice in my case. You have these many foreigners coming to Africa on a weekly if not daily basis with the majority of them just here to give cash and pose with a few Africans like they saved them to show the world of social media and get applauds. Let’s not talk about those here to get drunk and go to “The White House” lol. But who really can make a change? And a permanent fair one? Not a temporary, unjustly chosen, and corrupt one?
This is my second time in Africa helping and I won’t lie: they’ve taught me as much as I have taught them. My first trip was in Kenya 4-5 years ago, I was consumed by awe of how people that have nothing are so carefree and happy. There they were living by the sun and moon, no time, no rush,.. no musts. Life and death are one. Their souls are free, their bodies always dancing. They hum their way through the days. It was just liberating to meet souls of the like without even really knowing them. I recall I traveled to do an art project on a call for help from Kenyans little did I know my own country’s people needed the saving not them! This was probably the first time I see for fact that you need nothing to be happy. And those that had nothing, didn’t need more.
However, this time around in Tanzania having been teaching sick orphans (that need medical care more than anything) and also visiting their relatives homes (the ones that do have them), I’m simply repulsed.
This frustration arose and I was done pitying the African parents. These people need sexual education more than anything. I get it there is no government to provide with these contraceptive methods- and maybe they’re ignorant enough to not know how the children resulted.. but hey, change starts by one person. It’ll spread sooner or later. But I don’t see the main problem in merely the adult parents, but also the million of foreigners that come and go. I can’t imagine being a lonely lost child with a different “teacher” every few weeks… always ones that look, act, speak, and dress much more different than me.. much more “highly” as others have taught me. Imagine the instability? Like being abandoned as a child wasn’t enough? I wondered, instead of the many homes foreigners keep building, or the placements they go to that stay almost at the same state and never progress years later, or instead of acting like cash will rescue these broken souls.. how about an educational place or even just a workshop? It’s the “adults” that need the education first. How about we start prevention instead of temporary chosen and mostly corrupted “solutions”? Tell and show them it’s NOT okay to have that many kids instead of opening your arms and wallets wide open.
I’m not saying having children homes is wrong, it’s not. But I’m saying we must reach out to prevent before anything or at least meanwhile. I met for instance a woman living in a room that’s less than a bathroom size has 9 kids all close ages- if it weren’t for the fact her husband passed away she’d have 9 more, no doubt! I found that just so wrong. I couldn’t pity her, I pity the innocent souls that pay the price. Getting laid isn’t so hard. Having babies isn’t so hard. That’s not a hard life defined! We all could be them if we let ourselves play victims of our own actions.
As foreigners and the “Mzungo’s” they call us (although I don’t consider myself one) we shouldn’t go around pitying the families. They need to have consequences for constant unsafe inconsiderate sex! Period. Don’t tell me they’re that ignorant- I mean if fucking resulted in one kid then two then three- a pattern should be obvious! Heck they raise animals, they should observe the results of their fucking, how different are we from them if we won’t use our brains and think of results of our actions instead of just plunging in for temporary physical satisfaction? This is also very ironic coming from such strictly Christian communities and some Muslim as well. Using ones brain and staying wide open to results and conscious of actions shouldn’t require education.
And if they as adults can’t sustain, take care of, and feed themselves why add lives they’ll just torture?
Also, even if the parents didn’t know any better till they paid the consequences how about they tell the children to lead different lives?
All the issues I see here boil down to one thing: sex. I recall growing up men would tell me life is about sex and no more. That’s how I see it here.
You walk the streets, you’re walking sex. It’s the look you get from both men and women. The music they have on almost every Dala Dala and club; it’s all about sex. Descriptions of women’s bodies in cheap terms and yes, lustful sex. And that just sickens me.
And hey maybe it’s just me talking from deep down my heart cause sex for me is anything but a mere mean to have children- it’s a spiritual expression and practice, an exchange of my precious energy and the giving of my valued soul and body. Anyways back to the point.
As for my fellow volunteers, you really get out of it what you put into it. I wish I had the time, money, and in my case being a middle eastern female- approval from my family to be gone for longer.. but yes, I gave the greatest giving of all; that of myself. And even saying so, it sucks for me to feel I can’t give more than of myself because of the fact their were no tools provided in my placement to help. And when we’d offer and provide supplies, they would disappear next day. And also the kids as much as they wanted to learn, love, and have fun they barely understood a word in English to communicate and follow instructions so there was only so much one can do. Let alone some passed out sick, all had skin chronic diseases, chronic deadly coughs, and the place smells like a trash loo. Let’s see the next few days if they’ll bring a teacher that can translate into Swahili as asked so we can better teach. But honestly at points I begin to wonder if these kids are used as mere tools for a head to cash up on and that’s it really.
To conclude, I wish us “the foreigners” would go and teach the LOCAL Africans to help themselves and their own people and stop making them dependent on us like we know any better and live much well off. We’re no better, smarter, prettier, or superior than them. They can probably teach you a lot of greater life lessons that are past your own cameras and bubble internet-revolved lives than you can teach them at points. In the end, follow through with the intentions you had to visit in the first place. If you want to make a town or home a better place, work at it day in and out. If it’s as simple as drawing more smiles upon these innocent faces, then do so. Give of yourself, energy and time above anything. Have the right intentions and plan, execute it and follow through with your inner compass. Give your all and be ready to take in much more than you can offer, only then can it be worth it.