Sunday, February 25, 2018

OXFAM: Commentary for Uganda


So far, everyone who follows me on Social Media knows that I have only shared what media is saying about OXFAM.  I have not made any personal comment at all.

But there is this frienemy pain in the but come my security minder also childhood friend who has asked me 3 times why I do not speak about OXFAM.  So here we go.

When I was in Uganda at Mt. St. Mary's Namagunga, one of my teachers doubled as my History and Economics teacher.  She was ruthless beyond belief. But she was damn good.

One day, she took time out of her Nyankore beautiful life and spent it lecturing us about foreign aid and its impact on Africa (Uganda particularly).  If I did not love her that much, I would have slept through her lecture.

It is now that I remember everything she told the class. Foreign Aid is not for helping Africa develop. It is a band aid solution.

For a fact, with all the scandals now with NGOs, my teacher is smiling.

So when J asked me to write about OXFAM, why not UNICEF, WFP, FAO, and nabalala nabalala?

My dearest J, this is what happened to me one day.

Remember when you and I used to live in Toronto before you got transferred to Vancouver and I got transferred to Moncton.  I used to fly to Moncton for work rather frequently.  When our family was living in Moncton, I was then flying back to Toronto frequently for work.  You are lucky you only have to take the ferry between Vancouver and Victoria for work. For me it is a plane.

You remember that when our family moved to Moncton, your nieces were tiny and I always had to fly everywhere with them for work.  But this one day, I flew back to Toronto with only Becky.

Land at Pearson Airport and since the work was next morning, I drive to Kitchener to the market. I am on the 401 and suddenly notice your niece wiggling in the seat. I quick pull off onto the nearest exit in Mississauga.

Had forgotten to strap the brat.  Strap her. Look around.  There were Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Porsche. As I am kissing her to say "behave, it is a short ride, I tell her..omg, if I did not know any better, I would say we are at the head quarters of World Vision".

Come around to the driver seat and look at the building.  WORLD VISION HEAD QUARTERS.

So naturally, on the rest of the ride to Kitchener, I lectured a baby about how to never donate to World Vision.

Fast forward.  When the kid was 9yrs old, she was using $50 of her monthly allowance of $80 to donate to Watoto.

How insane is that?  World Vision employees drive the best cars ever.  Watoto is registered in Victoria BC.  But here we have a kid who believes in their work and is giving away her pocket money.

So when you ask me about OXFAM...who am I to say anything? For some reason, no matter how much the NGOs steal and lie, there are good people behind them. AND the supporters are innocent like a 9 year old who only sees a picture of kids with no water and wants them to also have clean water.

When we take all the scandals and theft (in my case, I also need a porsche car), then we will lose sight of the needy.  I think we need to demand for accountability and transparency.  The average human is kind and compassionate.  The world makes a very big mistake to use the few thugs to judge the work that multitudes sacrifice for.  Every NGO has thieves. Our role should be to kick out the thieves and get the help to the ones who really need help.

I wonder if you ever watched that video from Thailand where there was a young man who had a great job and always stopped at a place to eat. He would then buy a lot of food and feed stray dogs.  One time that same channel showed this young man catching water and running around like a mad man watering dying plants.

Humans forget something.  Bangkok is not an easy place. But go there.  You will find the least person being the kindest person.  As a matter of fact, whenever Becky stopped me by a homeless person and said "mom, have we run out of change? But you have your bank card", I always only did it because she knew and saw.  She one time said "but you know everyone walks away from them.  Someone must stop one time and pay attention".

Please, despite all these scandals going on with the big NGOs (they had it coming), we must not forget that there are real humans in need behind these NGOs.  We must not forget that many of these NGOs have volunteers who walk away from lives of luxuries to go and help.  We must then stand by these volunteers and the donors.  OUR job is to demand for transparency and accountability.

It will all work out.  You know this and you will see.

Martha Leah Nangalama
PS:  You are late on the child payments though!  Well, you cannot claim to be the father and not pay!

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