11 April 2017
11 April 2017
There is no liberty where there is poverty
Humaniatarian help must be specific: useful things which give people a prospect for the future. It is not enough just to send money and to feel good about it.
If we want to help somebody, even in the life of every day we must first make the´effort to understand what they really need and then we can take the steps to effectively assist them. It may be complicated but it is the way to truly help.
I tell of my experience in Uganda, together with Pio, for the Costa Family Foundation. Our objective was to visit Karamoja to see the ongoing devlopment of some of our projects i.e. schools and green farms. On arrival at the airport, our first impact was not very reassuring for there were many armoured vehicles, jeeps, and airplanes of UNO parked at the airport. It seemd as if there were instruments of war so as to guarantee the peace. I did not feel very safe. Then we moved on to the base of ISP at Kampala. If we want to help somebody, even in the life of every day we must first make the effort to understand what they really need and then we can take the steps to effectively assist them. It may be complicated but it is the way to help truly. Group of rooms and offices surrounded by barbed wire and security gates with a night guard always on duty. People there were at pains to say that we were safe but back home I do not have such barbed wire. I began to relax but the sensation was certainly a strange one. The following morning we got ready to visit the farms in the countryside. “What are you doing with a camera? Better to leave it behind or hide it really well. And always ask the person of the place if it is ok or not to take a photograph. If you take a photo of the wrong person, you could end up in jail and the prisons in Uganda, like elsewhere, are not the best places to spend time. Remember that here nobody knows really well what goes on in the prisons.” Such warning made it clear to us that we were not totally free and that our lives were not of the utmost importance. One could finish in prison for the sake of a photograph and then not know what the outcome would be. I began to think that wealth is certainly not the most important thing that we possess, nor do we need to worry much about our health resources and receiving a hot daily meal where we come from, but perhaps the most blessed thing that we have is personal freedom and the value, which is attributed to every single human life. We often take these things for granted but as in other walks of life we only appreciate their value to the full when we are without them. Uganda. Central Africa. Lake Victoria. The war finished a while ago and there is no longer a state of alarm. There is no need of immediate assistance of the sort provided by the humanitarian associations, their funds often collected in emergency appeals and not always being used for the ends intended. In Uganda the perception of such waste, better call it fraud, is clear but this topic would merit a story apart. Here, it is not clothes or food which are necessary for there is enough of both, even if food goes off right away if not eaten fresh. It is not even the case to gift a TV even if it might seem a good idea, for most of the houses do not have an aerial. And it is not a good idea either to give money to the head of the family, as he would probably spend it on drink or having the night of his life, and this not necessarily because he would be a bad person but the fact is that not long ago it was normal to doubt as to whether one would live to the next day. The concept of ‘tomorrow’ was a precarious one to say the least. What is really necessary here is a prospect for the future which is based on a simple and definite basis, and which help the population to understand that the times of war and dictatorship are over. What are vitally needed are irrigation systems, seeds to plant to provide fruit and vegetable in the months to come. Another example is that of a male and female pig, a single couple so as to generate many more and provide good food for the children. It is important too to spend time with the people, to get to know them and to understand well their needs. It is not necessary to send just money and then feel good about it. The small but essential thing I learned during my trip is that if in general we want to help somebody, even in the life of every day we must first make the effort to understand what they really need and then we can take the steps to effectively assist them. It can be both complex and complicated but it is the way to help a person or persons in general.