Africans Learning that Charity Begins at Home

It’s Sunday Morning, seating in a hotel room. Being that I am going to miss church,  I turned on BET for their morning Christian program-although i nearly got send a bottle of spring water to make me financially stable ( LOL). At 8:30 am, one is not fully awake, but when a program comes on talking about poor and starving children in Africa, my eyes were wide open! I have seen this program before- Feed the Children infomercial. Its actually very moving. The children look sad, the music is compelling, the background voice convincing. For someone who loves children, and constantly moved by them, one can’t help but want to empty their pockets to make sure that they don’t have to see the child on TV with flies on their face, dirt, and the sad sad faces. Guilt is always a great motivation for donating.  But then again, this is the world of non-profit orgs. Campaigns and fundraising is what makes money.

In recent days, we have seen a rise to Africans starting to finally question the work that is being done in Africa. It used to be that we would be so grateful that likes of Bono, Angelina Jolie and all these organizations took an interest in Africa. I mean come-on, all these people cared about Africa! After a period of colonization, having someone interested in Africa should not be something new, but we are enticed.  We can’t help it, we have this whole “white-man” complex, and Africans actually help in perpetuating that mythh.

There is a lesson to be learned in how we  as Africans conduct our business. The saying goes that “charity begins at home”. It seems that the lesson has been lost to many. Until Recently.  We are becoming painfully aware that everyone is set out to fix Africa’s Problem. Even on Twitter, Africa is trending topic. It becomes the “It”.  Unfortunately, while this could be good, there are negative connotations with the idea that Africa had to be a trending topic in 2012.  So you ask…where was Africa for all those other years?

We should start believe that if charity does indeed begin at home, then work on simple solutions to our problems.  We love the idea of big endeavors. Leadership is a huge task- might take years to actually change the perspective and mindset of society.  Development will take years, and  that is only for sustainable development. But what about the Present? After all, people are still dying of hunger daily. The horn of Africa is facing an unprecedented crisis that is man-made and with some very easy solutions.   We can still feed the hungry in our communities. If children are starving, feeding programs will work well in helping these children have meals.  For a continent that is very build around community solidarity, we have failed to understand the basic solutions to helping our communities.

We can still build schools, and continue to work towards development, but we also have the capacity to take care of the basic needs in our communities. Food is one of these basics. We can develop programs that work towards feeding these families in our communities. In fact it won’t cost much to do so.   Africa is moving forward, and this year is going to be seeing some major growth. However, we need to embrace the fact that Charity does begin at home. As Africans we can start understanding that some of the needs in our African community have simple solutions. We can stop complicating the basics, and once they are taken care of, we can move on to solve the complicated issues.

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