June 23, 2013
They told me it was going to be extremely cold. in fact we arranged to buy coveralls and I was reminded of my first trip to Jos, Nigeria when I had to wear some very heavy coverall sewn back in the 80s when things were made with attention to details and mostly by hand. Oh! That “coat” was heavy. The announced temperature ended up being 12 degrees centigrade. Well it was not as cold as requiring that large “winter suit” I wore to Jos, Nigeria (at first, that is) but the truth is 12 degrees is very, very far from 32 degrees. You do not need a thermometer to tell the difference.
The most advanced country in Africa was built by the Dutch, largely. We call them Africans now but of course we know better. Someone has joked about a serious statement made in the last century by someone we may consider a racist. The statement in effect was that black people have no capacity to govern themselves that God intended that blacks be ruled by whites. I must say partly in response that there are more races on earth than “black” and “white”, however, we tend to prove the idea right ever so often.
We are told that the Greeks sustained their empire throughout the ancient world through a process called “Hellenization”, essentially the infiltration of Greek Culture. The British did something very similar. Teach language, culture, values etc. and generally make a people feel better learning your way of life. We still wear suits to work and call it “formal”. You are considered responsible for wearing a suit. Yet I do believe suits evolved from the need to protect from cold in the upper hemisphere as much as turbans from the need to protect from dust in Arabia. Some Africans who consider themselves aristocrats still drink tea at certain times of the day. We pride ourselves as being superiors based on our practice of other cultures asides our own.
After lunch today my colleague was about to throw away the remainder of his food and he was stopped by a white middle-aged man “You don’t want that anymore?” he asked. My colleague was alarmed. He didn’t hear the stranger so well at first and thought maybe he was not separating the plastics from the waste food as required. It turned out the man actually wanted the left-over food. Not news but a rude shock when seen face to face. No part of the world is perfect and poverty is not a racist. We offered him a proper lunch and he accepted.
Amazing how cheap basic necessities are in some parts of the world. My thoughts are when you develop a working system, delete corruption and leverage on the economies of scale created by stable public infrastructure like power and roads, the only thing left for an acceptable quality of life for the average person is producing what you need internally. Humanly speaking, Jacob got the birthright because he could raise sheep. Esau merely wanted to live off the forest and could not see the future.
It’s about 10:25 PM and I guess three time zones are reading this blog (while Spain leads Nigeria 2-nil). Some things you need to learn about the world we live in are learnt by experience. It is amazing the amount of information pictures register on your brain – more than a thousand words. It is astounding how that volume is multiplied when the pictures are moving. An unbelievable amount of data floods your brain cells when you can actually touch the moving pictures. have a great week and keep your eyes on this blog.