Thursday, August 10, 2006

What do you think it is?

Today, a friend told me he lost another member of his family. that makes 5 people who died in the three short months i've known him. on most days, it's difficult for me to remember that i'm world's away from my home in canada. you become entrenched in daily routines...you wake up, you rush out the door in a frantic hurry for work, you get stuck in traffic, some days go by in a hurried blur, some days seem to stretch in time, you go home or you may socialize with a few friends, and then you start all over again. but it doesnt take long before someone or something jolts you back to remind you where you really are. you are actually in a place where you have had people away from work for 9 different funerals, but George with the five missing members still smilingly asks about your day. you are actually at a place where the life expectancy is 39 (!) years of age and your 38 year old co-worker laughingly jokes that she's got one more year left to live. when did i forget that a large scale event to commemorate lost relatives became an event to entertain the crowd with song, comedy and dance? how did i forget that i now live in a place where the very first person i spoke with informed me that his wife was infected with AIDS? we're not playing with odds, it is a very distinctive pattern. it is not a coicidence that in this time and place i notice problems from poverty to governance. i bet you're thinking that my friend George who lost 5 members all died from illnesses. maybe from AIDS? well...two died from simple infections easily treated in the West. one died from old age. 2 from violent mini bus accidents. i once saw a mini bus that was so broken down it was almost comical. all four sides looked ready to collapse. it was a car from the flinstone era. of course, you will see many a mercedes and BMWs. like i said though, it is not a coincidence. what do you think the problem is? we throw around lack of accountability, poverty, dependence on donors, governance issues, lack of capacity...dependence...accountability...dependence...accountability...but who knows...i'll let you know as soon as i find out.

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