Friday, August 03, 2007

Did you know?

Copyright Eden Foundation

There are 250,000 known plant species in the world, but only 20 of them provide 90% of our food. Eden believes that the key to prosperity for the poor lie in underexploited, edible trees and bushes - the lost treasures of Eden.

The solution is out there and it is so simple. As long as the goal is to aim for people to achieve a sustainable life.

The funny thing is that the more "developed" our world becomes, the more complicated solutions do we look for. All over the blog world, I see people striving to make Africa a more Western place. "Let's bring development to Africa!" "Let's bring education and technology!"

To me, it's not my job to change the habit of culture. That is for Africa to do on its own. If it wants our Western lives with lonely patterns, then fine, by all means, go ahead. But I won't push for it. In fact, it would only make me very, very sad. My job however is to allow for people to lead a sustainable life. To have food on the table and the freedom to develop in whatever way they want.

Somehow, the Western world got confused about aid; thinking it was about directing people in whatever manner that would suit their politics. You hold an enormous power when it is your hand that distributes the bread - perhaps it is a human fault to never be able to withstand the temptation of commandeering over others. Perhaps we have so low values that we only measure ourselves in our ability to control others. I don't know.

What really saddens me however is when I see the intellectuals of Africa striving for Africa to make a name for itself on the global scene. As if Africa would even want to compare with the Western World.

People may say that I am romanticizing, but my take on the issue is very simple. When people no longer go hungry, they flourish. They rise and they start to act. Let them develop in their own way according to their own heart's desires and do not meddle for the sake of your own recognition.

Copyright Eden Foundation



Szavanna said...

Hi Ishtar! Eden is an exciting initiative - looking forward to finding out more about it as time goes on. The fact is that we should all move on to new solutions since the ones we have come up with are not really working - Eden definitely gives us some things to think about!!!

loomnie said...

You are right, Ishtar, you are right.

Ishtar said...

@Szavanna: Eden is a 22 year old initiative with some heavy first hand experience and sustainable results. I've been sloppy about telling you about Eden's work - will definitively blog more about it in the future.

@Loomnie: Very glad to hear it from you. When looking at the discussion taking place at White African (with my name splattered all over the place!) I was hoping to shred some more nuanced light on the issue. Seems that the large aid industry is not the only Holy Cow in the global society!