And so I’m back from my trip to Paris. I am very happy to be back with Mr M and the time and space we gave ourselves has made it abundantly clear where we are, where we want to be and to some degree how we will get there. So great news on that front. I have also been made to promise that if I decide to take another long trip somewhere, Mr M comes with. I told him it was a deal!
The separation, though not completely unmanageable with all the technology we have at our disposal, was difficult and not something I’d like to do again in the near future.
Looking back on my time in Paris I can honestly say I achieved what I set out to do. I finally and firmly closed the door on my past and made peace with it. I challenged myself in ways I have never done before and I came out the other side better for it. I started learning a new language and in one’s early thirties, this is nothing to sneeze at.
I am accustomed to picking up concepts quickly and so learning a new language was one heck of a challenge.
Language just doesn’t work the way most other things do but I took comfort in the knowledge that it’s an ongoing process and it is something I am going to continue to pursue. It’s also the greatest way to exercise your brain and we can all use some grey matter aerobics! It’s what keeps us young!
Some of the highlights of Paris include seeing an astounding amount of beauty and being confronted with history at every turn. The architecture in Paris is breathtaking at times, especially that of Sacre Cœur, Les Invalides and La Tour Eiffel.
I also met some of the most amazing people on this journey and it went a long way to restoring my faith in humanity somewhat.
We get confronted by so much horror and pain on a daily basis that in some ways we have become desensitised to it. It is so comforting to know that there are people out there who genuinely care about what happens in the world and are getting involved in what ever way they can.
After returning to South Africa on Monday I was afforded the opportunity of visiting Jabulani. A rural outreach programme that houses and feeds impoverished members of the community. Mr M has recently gotten involved and heads up the trust that has been opened to assist the community in self sustaining work and development.
They have recently received their first donation and are already implementing the funds and getting the programme up and running.
I met a woman at Jabulani, named Thandi and she is piloting the “grow to eat and sell” initiative. She will be the model on which Jabulani will structure it’s business plan to show the donors where their money is going and to show the community itself how well the programme can work.
In the coming weeks I’ll be sure to let you know how things are going.
I have been looking for another avenue in which to utilise my talents and Jabulani seems to be a very good fit. There are not handouts. It’s education and self help – teaching a man to fish and all of that. The one giant and–at least to some of us–glaringly obvious flaw of all the ‘just give’ programmes in Africa at large, is the lack of education. By simply handing out food to people starving in countries like Ethiopia and the Sudan we began to perpetuate a vicious circle.
People living off of handouts, having more children and creating more and more indigents who have to rely on handouts making the problem ever greater as the years stretch on. I’m not saying we should leave people to starve but I do believe that without proper education and giving the tools to people to help themselves, you are wasting your time treating the symptom and not the root cause of the problem. This is something Nelson Mandela agreed with. Mandela was a supporter of Mike Kendrick, who founded the Mineseeker Foundation who warned that Africa was becoming a spoilt child due to all the handouts it was receiving from the international community.
Aid handouts did very little to help the people of Ethiopia. The only thing aid in Ethiopia served to achieve was well meaning yet poorly executed symptom relief for some of the millions of starving people. What started to change day to day lives of people in Ethiopia was the implementation of potato farming and the education of local farmers.
This is how we go about changing lives, by educating people. Nothing worth having ever came for free. This isn’t the first place you will read this and it also won’t be the last, but if you are unhappy with how things are, do something to change them, in whatever way you can, do what you feel you can. The world needs more people who care to get up and make a difference.
If you cannot find an organisation who does things the way you think they should be done, start your own. Just start something.
Thank you for reading.