"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
One of the things that bothers me more and more about the aid and development industry (the "aid industrial complex?" is the great possibility that it is creating a welfare state writ large. My friend Josh Ruxin in Mayange says (and I agree) that the problem with most aid and development agencies is they don't realize that their job is to put themselves out of business.
My dream for EGR is that by 2015 we have become irrelevant. The Millennium Development Goals have been achieved and we are on to what's next. As we look to build a companion relationship with Lui in Southern Sudan, how can we create a relationship that is not one of dependence. Where we each bring to the table what we have to offer, what we have to be appreciated. Where we can marvel at each other and help each other.
An example I gave of this at our last companion diocese meeting is the problem of race. It exists both in Lui and in St. Louis. Both places are full of racial strife that spills over into violence. How can we learn from each other? How can we teach each other out of our own experience?
It's a great letter. Anyone who has been to Africa knows there is poverty but also knows there is so much more. It is the cradle of civilization. There are amazing people doing amazing things. There is beauty and courage and industriousness and creativity.
Mbeki's concern is that Africa will let the Western media define who it is and will become that definition.
It's a real concern ... and it goes hand-in-hand with the problems of much of the aid industry.
It looks like I'll be going to Rwanda this spring, and I'm thrilled. Not to see what has happened there, but to see what is happening. Rwandans rebuilding their country. We need to hear those stories. We need to hear them much more.
Everyday the African and global media publish articles about Africa, based on events that have taken place on our continent. In time, these stories begin to define who and what we are. In due course, as we come to believe the resultant image of ourselves, we also begin to act the part.
For some years now, our continent has been engaged in a sustained effort to change the lives of our people for the better. The 30 July democratic elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the great rally at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 9 August to promote the emancipation of women, stand out as but two examples both of the good news emanating from Africa, and what our continent is doing to redefine itself.
It is in this context that many on our continent and elsewhere in the world have, once again, as reflected in the reports we cite below, raised the issue of consistent and seemingly compulsive negative reporting about Africa.
EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.
Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.
"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."