Have been racking my brains and mulling over what to write - something catchy, something witty something that would definitely illuminate the problems and provide the proverbial solution(s) - and of course that didn't happen. There is just so much breath, scope and depth to the issue that to try and sum it up in one post would be impossible. I guess that is why there is such an action day though - I do look forward to reading the other blogs about the topic. I have already read the Ghanaian ones!
My route to and from work takes me past the Accra International Conference Center and I noted that there was another sign up for yet another conference - one really begins to wonder if Ghana is the land of conferences. It seems we have been having quite a few this year focused on a myriad of topics related primarily to development issues therefore a link to poverty.
I began to wonder about my own role as a development worker as a part of the solution - or dare I say the problem - in this whole notion of development. It made me wonder if the approaches, the methodologies, the focus and the support is what in fact is needed, or even demanded. I also wondered if we - as the development community - despite the purity of heart and purpose, the halos, the noble intentions and all that - could ever exist without this phenomenon called poverty. A bit raw perhaps in terms of how I have stated it, but yes - do we really want poverty end?
There is a poem I keep posted on my wall at work that reminds me of the type of development worker I don't want to be :
The Development Set
by Ross Coggins
Excuse me, friends, I must catch my jet I'm off to join the Development Set;
My bags are packed, and I've had all my shots
I have traveller's checks and pills for the trots!
Our thoughts are deep and our vision global;
Although we move with the better classes
Our thoughts are always with the masses.
In Sheraton Hotels in scattered nations
We damn multi-national corporations;
injustice seems easy to protest
In such seething hotbeds of social rest.
We discuss malnutrition over steaks
And plan hunger talks during coffee breaks.
Whether Asian floods or African drought,
We face each issue with open mouth.
Raises difficulties for every solution --
Thus guaranteeing continued good eating
By showing the need for another meeting.
The language of the Development Set
Stretches the English alphabet;
We use swell words like "epigenetic"
"Micro", "macro", and "logarithmetic"
It's so intellectually atmospheric!
And although establishments may be unmoved,
Our vocabularies are much improved.
When the talk gets deep and you're feeling numb,
You can keep your shame to a minimum:
To show that you, too, are intelligent
Smugly ask, "Is it really development?"
Or say, "That's fine in practice, but don't you see:
It doesn't work out in theory!"
A few may find this incomprehensible,
But most will admire you as deep and sensible.
Development set homes are extremely chic,
Full of carvings, curios, and draped with batik.
Eye-level photographs subtly assure
That your host is at home with the great and the poor.
Our task is as broad as the human condition!
Just pray god the biblical promise is true:
The poor ye shall always have with you.
Will their lack of poverty plunge us into our own? One wonders at the end of it all, whose poverty alleviation are we concerned about.
See all the other blogs and posts at: www.blogactionday.org