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Monday, 11 May 2009


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Kiva now has a sponsor group in Bamenda.Check out the web page for more info.

 Dr. Peter Wuteh Vakunta

Dr Mondoa:
Enriching info there on great acts of survival by so-called 'small people'. This reminds me of the industriousness of the Bayam sellam, the sauveteurs, benskinneurs and taximen who are surviving in CAMEROON by dint of hard work and constant savings in tontines and njangi houses.

Intelligent, well-educated people, some of them friends of Africa, tell me that they despair of Africa. They blame their despondency on the fact that most African leaders are corrupt, immoral tricksters who brutalize and exploit their own people. They point to the fact that multi-million projects intended to improve the lot of the underprivileged have been allowed to flounder on account of corrupt practices encouraged by leaders and administrators who have siphoned the funds to foreign lands. Some of these doomsayers are quick to point out that Africa’s abundant natural resources do not serve Africans. Oilfields have been exploited and forests depleted but the proceeds have ended up in European Banks. They argue that African economies have failed to grow; that epidemics and pandemics have ravaged Africa’s human capital. Others observe that there is abject poverty and chronic unemployment on the African continent due to the dearth of domestic industries and a deleterious brain drain. They further maintain that intertribal wars have transformed teenagers into callous killers.

There may be some truth in all these observations. However, this sort of reasoning ignores the extraordinary ways in which ordinary Africans have succeeded in making a living against overwhelming odds. Miracles are happening everyday on every street corner in Africa. Every now and then you run into a group of women, young and old, who have improvised a roadside market to sell their fruits and vegetables spread on banana and plantain leaves to shield them from dust and mud. All too often, one encounters a group of children, orphaned by HIV/AIDS, carrying firewood on their bare heads to sell in order to procure money needed to pay for the education they need to turn their lives around. Everyday one runs into roadside mechanics armed with nothing but rusty spanners trying hard to resuscitate a dilapidated clando[i] vehicle that should have been sent to the scrape-yard years ago. Suddenly, it takes off amidst a cloud of dark smoke. The next minute the same vehicle is loading a miscellany of goods owned by bayam sellam[ii] heading for the urban centers for retail.

All these activities bear testimony to the superhuman courage and resilience of Africans, people determined to eke out a living regardless of the odds confronting them. On this count, I cannot find any reason to despair of Africa. I have the conviction that Africans continue to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps in the face of unimaginable adversity. Corruption, misgovernment, pestilence, famine and unemployment will be bedfellows with Africans for only as long as they will tolerate it. But the day will come when they will say no to manipulation by foreign powers and take their destiny into their own hands. The day will come when Africans will come to the realization that no amount of external goodwill is enough to solve their internal problems. There is no reason to despair of Africa. I can hardly imagine any other group of people on this planet that have been subjected to the myriads of ills— slavery, colonization, neo-colonization and more— and yet can afford to hold their heads high and walk tall as Africans do. For this reason, I don’t despair of Africa because the ‘small’ acts accomplished by ‘small’ people will eventually snowball into great acts.

The herald

How vividly you describe the plight of Africans!And what are the formalities needed to join Kiva?And what of if dishonest people collect this loans and simply disappear into the unknown as is common nowadays?

Emil Mondoa

To the herald: there are no formalities for involvement in Kiva. Just visit the website, own a paypal account and you can help a poor person somewhere. Regarding repayment, the risks are small, because you make small contributions to many people and not huge contributions to one person at a time. The loans are vetted by Kiva NGOs on the ground, so these are actual projects by real people. Like any loan, there are risks of default, and that is normal. I would not worry about a few bad eggs, if I want to help Africa.

As Dr Vakunta said, poor people tend to work extraordinarily hard and are honorable. In general, they are more responsible with money than people who are better of.

I am curious how many people have joined Kiva since I placed this article.

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