Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Confusion - the state of mind of Ethiopian relationship!

Confusion – the state of mind of Ethiopian relationship!

When you ask a simple question like “How old are you?”, then don’t be surprised by various responses you will get from fellow habeshoch. At best you will get “hmm, I’m “xx” and smile! True, in the Habesha hemisphere age might not be a good gauge to evaluate deeper elements like relationships. Mind you, by relationship, I’m not appealing only a ‘relationship of opposite sexes’. But, if I give scores to relationships, the intimate relationship ( … between lovers …) might get a high score ( in my score board).

The habitual and casual things we do, (like having multiple birthdates, change of names and other obscure elements) for the sake of survival, creeps on to our life when we attempt to live a “meaningful righteous life”.

Innately we have the desire to live a ‘righteous’ life; but, unknowingly (or knowingly) we have crossed the boundary of “right” – because we have to survive, because we have to help family, because everybody is doing it, because…

I, by no means, have the desire to judge and criticize the various ways of living arrangement most habeshoch practices. But, when I see the same people pass judgment and criticism on others, it literally disgusts me. More importantly; when double-standard seems to be the “norm” amongst us Ethiopians, the stench is unbearable.

All the craziness aside, at least people deserve to have a ‘truthful’ life. After all, isn’t the Biblical Paradigm that teaches us to “… come as we are?...”. For someone who is aware of his weaknesses, who is aware of the “imperfect” life he has led, there is no room to arrogantly echo “his way or the high way” adage.

Furthermore, if one chooses to consciously conceal some elements of her identity, I wouldn’t want to marry her, I wouldn’t want to be her friend, I wouldn’t want to conspire with her. If one is not trust worthy to himself/herself, then he/she you will never be worthy of my trust.

So, let’s be more open, more truthful and less judgmental. This will help eliminate the confused state of mind most Ethiopians live in.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Trade !... Not Aid! Ethiopia's/Africa's Cry!

Growing up in a city that is comparative to New York City, in its ability to reside so many non profits and other aid base offices, I had an opportunity to see the “glamorous” side of non-profit

Addis Ababa is a city that showcase non-profit licensed cruisers and sporty cars, a site of high paying non-profit exec. foreigners crowding “elite” restaurants, bars and entertainment venues and highly paid local non-profit employees enjoy the benefit of aid.

Almost everyone prefers to work for these, “good doer” “non-profits”. The one element that I had faced to see, living in western hemisphere, is that the “ugly” side of the very existence of non-profit organizations.

TV infomercials of hungry and starved faces overwhelm you day in and out; with the promise of delivering your hard earned dollar to the “cause” and with a warning that the fates of these unlucky, impoverished souls are “destined to perish” with out your help – then you will just wonder! You just wonder how the “cause” is really true!

You try to make sense of how the squandering habits of non-profits help alleviate the pain of poverty stricken souls! You try to reckon how it creates a hope necessary to lift up the heavy burdened existence of the poor!

Here, I would like to point out that there are real “good-doer” non-profits out there, doing what seems unthinkable, feeding the hungry, sheltering the abandon, treating the sick and giving hope to the hopeless.

But, many non-profits exist feeding in to vicious cycle of the begging-donating-begging. These days, it starts to sadden my soul every single time I see one of these infomercials. There is a saying: “…give someone a fish, you will feed him for a day. But, teach him how to fish, you will allow him feed himself for a lifetime…” (Paraphrased!). The work of non-profits should be to create hope and sustainability, to show someone “how to fish”; to help transfer deprived souls from their current reality to a future filled with opportunity and hope! If a non-profit can’t deploy an objective of transformation and remain functioning at the premise of “continuous aid”, then it is pausing danger to people’s innate ability to overcome adversity to survive.

That is where I echo the slogan “… trade, not aid!..” . Yes! Non-profits are originated out of humanity’s good will to do good- a very commendable act! But, when it robs the very element of survival from humanity, just to maintain its existence, then its very existence to do well is questionable.
Teach people how to fish, open up the market space so that they can sell some of the fish, so that they can envision beyond survival. That really is a noble cause! That is Ethiopia is in need of, that is what Africa is in need of, that is what the world is in need of.