Actually someone did try to play government. There was a drought in Kenya in 2011 and the media didn’t spare us the saddening experience of having to watch image after image of undernourished children and old people. It’s almost enigmatic to me how I didn’t see any youth in those images, a little voice in my head tried to convince me; those are not old people, what you are seeing are the effects of hunger. Nevertheless it was sad. The government was slow to act so a group of people decided they should do something to bring Kenyans together and do what the government won’t do- get food and water to the affected people in a timely fashion. A noble cause, it must said. Not to be condescending but those people will tell you today that its not easy acting the government in these here parts because they were not exactly 100% successful in their mission. About a week ago, tons of food was set ablaze because it went stale sitting in a warehouse somewhere, and before that some of the foodstuff was deemed unfit for human consumption so it had to be recalled. It didn’t stop there, some unscrupulous individuals were caught stealing some of this relief food for resale! It begs the question, how much money eventually went to waste?
It must be frustrating for the government when it gets bombarded with criticism from its citizens from every possible angle, I imagine. Sometimes the criticism is justified but sometimes it’s unfair. Challenges are challenges, and they are impediments even for a government- people stealing, poor roads, high cost of living, lack of funds etc. For an African nation, we have a good government! Be my guest and check other African countries, its only right for us to see the good (and there is no shortage of goodness) in our government and give a little respite for just a moment. I can’t help but wonder, why didn’t anyone go up in arms over the spoiled food (except for one angry tweep whose probably searching for any Red Cross worker to do them who-knows-what), that wasn’t tax money, should it not have been more enraging? Or did it have to be the government for people to consider it a wrong? Sometimes when things go awry, its no one’s fault. And sometimes it’s our individual faults.
The total amount of money that was raised by Kenyans was nearly a hundred million Kenya Shillings (or one billion, I forget). That’s a lot of money even in Zimbabwe dollars. People donated, even the poor gave the little they could. This was only the second time in my Kenyan life to witness masses of my fellow countrymen and women brought together and act as one. I mean people joyfully gave! It was a good campaign, it felt to me like a contest of who gave more. One was almost compelled to send cash since it seemed selfish and inconsiderate not to, especially when everyone else was doing it. It became a fad. Hypocritical. I’m inclined to think some people gave for themselves and not for the hungry, just so they could sleep well at night after seeing the devastating images on the nine o’clock news, neutralizing the guilt knowing they did something. But they gave nonetheless.
I say if you want to give then start with the needy that are close to you and make it a habit. And the most you can give is not just money, its the love and hope you give to another human being. I trust its what led this blogger to start a campaign to raise money for her friend who needs money for a new lower jaw. It is to me a good place to start this habit, where are all the good people at? The update so far here. I wish Savvy and her friend all the best.
PS: This blog’s third anniversary is this month, traditionally I drop a tiny post to celebrate it. But this short note is just fine for this year :-). Your good wishes are now welcome. *ululation*