Friday, July 08, 2005

African poverty

The Plexus Institute has a series of "Thurday posts," which it later publishes on its website. Here is an extract from this week's.
[Jeffrey] Sachs begins an essay in Time Magazine with a description of the small village of Nthandire in Malkawi, where there are no able bodied adults to work in the fields or build bins to collect rainwater. Instead, the aged are caring for a generation of malnourished young children orphaned by AIDS. Crop yields are minimal because of drought and soil depletion, and a grandmother who carried a child six miles to a clinic was sent home because there was no medicine to treat the youngster’s malaria. Death is an overwhelming presence. Carol Bellamy, the head of UNICEF, has described Malawi as “a perfect storm of human deprivation” where extreme poverty, climatic disaster, drought, AIDS, malaria and other diseases create a maelstrom of suffering.
It's hard to read this without having some emotional reaction: we should so something or it's all their own fault. The first thing to do is simply to read it and acknowledge the facts. Then, once we are emotionally ready to think about it, we can decide what to do.

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