He was qualified and stubborn, and it cost him his marriage and his firstborn son. In addition, hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees flocked into Kenyam where they were met by an army of aid workers t take care of their needs. In the morning I drove to my office to figure out ways to give away bags of rice that were already enroute to Kenya from a port in Texas. The belief that we can help is an affirmation of our own worth in the grand scheme of things. Rents are paid at European rates, often in foreign exchange.
Charities raise money for starving Africans. Journalists crowded around to get the first shots of the first shipments arriving and leaving the City of Death. Maybe the biggest problem is this idea that food will solve famine. As a side note I know many people who currently work for Save and am impressed by their skill, commitment, and professionalism. What have I gotten myself into? I once volunteered for the Red Cross, and saw some of what this book talks about first hand. And therefore, it lacks context: 15 years old and scattered, it needed brief explanations of the characters and events that may have seemed self-evident from the author's perspective.
Earlier missionaries had delivered enlightenment as the word of God and had paved the way for political and economic domination from Europe. Save itself has greatly reformed since the time covered in this book. When I walked into her office that afternoon, it was the first time I had ever seen her. Yet the only thing I could have done would have been to get involved politically, to take power, to lead, ultimately to rule. I certainly learned a lot! They simply wish to have nice looking pie charts and portfolios to show donors while throwing themselves extravagent parties.
For her, and the organization, famine was a growth opportunity. Is that really what you want to do? This book rocked the foundations of my world. I would have been just as happy to be sent to Malaysia or Bolivia. Prahalad should be read as a top down book and Maren as a bottom up book. The Peace Corps was a temporary escape, like joining the French Foreign Legion but with a much shorter commitment.
This new Africa of bold revolutionary heroes was, in retrospect, just another chapter in the same Western mythology that gave us Tarzan and further evidence of the patronizing relationship between the powerful and the powerless. I think that our society is afraid of facing the consequences of our actions, because deep down we know that we are harming the world more than we are helping. Save itself has greatly reformed since the time covered in this book. With my English degree and suburban upbringing and white skin, I could walk into an African village and throw money and bags of food around. Aid organizations forced nomads to settle down to farming without providing a way for them to survive when drought conditions make farming impossible. Beside him sits his driver, a nineteen-year-old Somali kid called Jiis. I think that our society is afraid of facing the consequences of our actions, because deep down we know that we are harming the world more than we are helping.
Many of us discovered just how deep our Western prejudices ran, built as they were on the literature of colonialism. The people of the region decided they wanted nothing to do with Mogadishu, and so they formed a breakaway republic. The author uses Somalia as a case study, examining different aspects of foreign aid. I now had money to buy pipes and cement and apparatus. The vast bulk of the money that Westerners spend is in the upper tier of the economy. Michael Maren's book is simply brilliant in its exhaustive research and compassion and perspective.
This book is a call to more responsible giving. Seems to me that comment is off base. By the time I was done with it, my head was spinning. . At any rate, few journalists are equipped to do a detailed and accurate analysis of development activities. It was a pathetic example of American hubris, that we rich Americans who know jack shit about Africa think we can send in the price of a cup of coffee and all will be well in the world. Kenya was a wonderful place to work and it attracted thousands of aid workers.
Clarke told me that some well-intentioned missionaries had ordered a top-of-the-line windmill apparatus from the United States and had hauled it to northern Kenya, where they proceeded to build the tower from local materials, held together with Kenyan-made bolts. While Michael Maren is an obviously biased source, this shocking tell-all on the dark effects of charity gone wrong can make a skeptic out of the most fervent of idealists. A stunning personal narrative of best intentions gone awry, Michael Maren, at one time an aid worker and journalist in Somalia, writes of the failure of international charities. I learned how to live on a diet consisting primarily of maize and beans in various forms. He pays little attention; Somalis always seem to be arguing about something. We were there to serve. A person about to starve to death develops a stoic strength.