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A fishing-rod and the magic sequance of development

I am always glad and very much impressed to see people helping others out gratuitously. Why? It is a way of showing others the magic abilty to share. It's an extraordinary ability. I am very much a supporter of giving the world good examples of those who possess that magic power so others can follow them. In business/marketing language people use the term 'best practicies' and that reflects all kinds of well done work and remarkable people's performance so in many cases you don't have to kick the opened door and just apply the good experience of others. Theoreticlly speaking if all people would follow those who help others our world would turn into paradise, well, it sounds well but needless to add that this is an absurd or at least imaginary ideal state.
However, if we come to a point one day that it would be nice to help somone/some people without asking anything in return I wonder how we could things get started. Well, it's not a banal question, however, at the first sight it indeed seems very easy to answer, isn't it? Omnipresent mass media delivers 'the dark side of the world' message 24 hours a day. Intiuitonally I would say that there is far more negative communication compared to promotion of postive people's performance in massive media. Poverty, unjust and human's tradegy are all around us. Who should I help first to make my efforts as effective as possible?

I transport myslef back in time to 2006 and those two weeks of mine I spent in Republic of South Africa when I met a young South African English teacher. He was 5 or 6 years younger than me. He wasn't a proffesional teacher but you know at the high season the demand for people who are willing to teach English to foreigners is so high that it is quiet easy to get a temporary job. He was one of the temporary / seasonal teachers in the school I went to.
He did not impress me because of his teacher's skills or the way he could test my skills, evaluate them and finally help me to improve my language gaps that needed to be improved. As I took individual tution with him we gradually moved the gist of our conversations from very formal to private topics. I think we managed to find a mutual ground for private conversation.
He was a charity worker responsible for fund rising in London. He worked for one of charity organization settled in England to make fresh and clean water availble all around the world. Water was according to him commodity of first neccessity and should be put as a number one priority to all charity organizations worldwide. He gave me a lot of examples and evidence that clean water supply is fundamental for human's life.
I was sceptical first but then slowly I thought he had been right.
Can you imagine a child walking everyday in the morning a distance of 40 km one way to get a bucket or two of fresh water. Have you ever walked a distance of 40 km with a heavy backpack, if you did you know how tired you were arriving finally in the destination and how cheerful you were to see a pint of beer on the table in front of you. However, this boy while arriving home with water he has a long list of futher duties like doing homework etc. In most of the cases lack of fresh water availability limits the families to develop and move higher in social hierachy because what they utmost care is water.
There are a lot of charity organizations delivering aid to people by sending them cows or sheeps so that they can breed them and live on them. However, the problem is that if there is no water supply the animals won't survive long.
To me my young SA teacher was right that water goes first and if no water there is no next step in the development sequance.

The Republic of South Africa as a relatively new democratic country deals with so many problems like poverty, low level of education and illiteracy, rasizm and very high crime level. Well, surley I could easily continue to mention more problems people of South Africa face in their everyday life but that's not the point. You see my young teacher would have his hands full of work in his own country that was my first impression after hours of conversations with him. Nevertheless, I am still far from being critical on him. On contrary, I realized that my teacher had a unique ability to look at the world globally (most of us still look only locally) and to focus on primary and fundamental problems if they continue to remain unsolved there would be no further development possible. Today I very much support the efforts to secure a supply of fresh and clean water all around the world and to put clean water avavilbity on top of the agenda of all charity organizations.

What if we try to help people by giving them a 'fishing-rod' so that they can sit by the river and catch a fish by themselfs. If we give them a fish first they will just eat it and the day after they will feel hunger again.

If you feel like helping others think well what's fundamental for people to let them improve their daily life so your effort / time will be rewarded with long term effect either you see the world locally or globally.

Posted by tomik 08:08 Archived in South Africa

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