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WATER PROBLEMS IN AFRICA:
There are many organizations that raise funds to drill or hand-dig wells in rural Africa and fit them with hand pumps. However, the pumps break down with use, and in most cases they are not repaired. Women often must then go back to walking long distances to collect water that is often unsafe, just as they did before their village had a well.
When a village pump fails women and girls are forced to return to the work of collecting water from unsafe sources, and they often have to carry it long distances. Using that water not only increases the chances of contracting diseases (dysentery, cholera) and parasites (guinea worm, schistosomiasis) but fetching it takes time that could be used for work to improve the financial status of the family. The latter is a special burden on single women with children or married women whose husbands are absent. In addition, girls in the family are required to help collect water, and the time they spend doing that often comes at the expense of school time. This chore is generally recognized as a serious impediment to girl's education throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Hand pumps have been installed in boreholes and hand dug wells in sub-Saharan Africa for many years. However, they seldom work for more than a few years before they fail and are usually not repaired because the people lack the knowledge and funds to do so. Many borehole wells were drilled in the 1990's and fitted with hand pumps. Some of the pumps had been out of operation for more than five years. During those years, the communities rely on traditional water sources including small streams, open hand-dug wells that are dry for part of the year and are often contaminated, and large puddles that form after heavy rains.
How can this problem be tackled in Africa? Your comments, ideas and suggestions are welcome to address this need.
Ends January 30, 2015, 12:00 AM
SenegalStyle Sineta George Hello and thank you for writing! I am sending this to all the people that hav...
Oct 13 (2 days ago)
Hello and thank you for writing! I am sending this to all the people that hav...
This is a letter I sent to potential volunteers that contacted me previously about opportunities here in Senegal. When I responded they never wrote back, and I think I know why!
I decided to post the letter here well in the hopes that people connected to Idealist that might have been concerned as well (and are changing their minds about coming here), would be able to have the same information and insight into exactly what is happening here, on the ground, in West Africa. It's a bit of a rant but I think you can understand my frustration. Our volunteers have slowed to nothing and we have programs that desperately need people to help... so I hope this will persuade you to come to Senegal and ignore the media. They simply aren't telling the truth.
I am sending this to all the people that have contacted us regarding internships, language programs or volunteering. I hope this will give you more understanding (and discernment) with regard to why this 'epidemic' is not an 'epidemic' in the majority of counties on this continent (54 - only 3 affected and at this point the USA has more cases than any other country in Africa other than Liberia, Sierra Leone & Guinea!).
I hope you are not offended by my writing style - I am a straight up, say it how I mean it kind of person. I am also American, female and have lived more than half a century so I have seen more than my share of propaganda coming from my country, unfortunately. This is yet another example but because I am sitting here in Senegal 15+ years, I see how harmful what we (our US government/media) can be to local population we claim we are trying to 'help' - it's not 'help.' The real aim is to destabilize... don't be a part of it.
You're smarter than that.
Ebola - it's a nonfactor here. The virus is in only 3 countries, 'West Africa' is 17 different countries so that means 14 are unaffected. The news media is blowing it up because there is another agenda going on... W.Africa doesn't have a lot of western multinationals, particularly American companies. Senegal has ZERO American companies, no McDonalds, KFC, etc, nothing. That also means no Franken food, Tyson chicken or Monsanto. Everything here is totally organic and in fact, lettuce and other vegetables are grown in recycled peanut shells so there's no problems with salmonella or any other feces based fertilizers.
We (Americans) want to screw that up.
When President Obama came to Senegal earlier this year, he brought 800+ business people with him and they have been chomping at the bit ever since to get in here. The ebola virus gave them the perfect opportunity to come in under the guise of 'assistance' with military and contractors. What they are doing to make this happen faster is destroying the economies of these countries (thru the media), making them more amenable to changing laws and allowing American/western companies into the country. Now the IMF and World Bank are saying they want to lift the debt ceilings for all the countries in this region so they can make more loans to 'fight this epidemic' (and make them even more indebted!). Raising the debt ceiling for development and infrastructure wasn't a priority to them previously but now they see an opportunity to profit off the misery of 3 countries (Liberia, Sierra Leone and & Guinea) and gain another 14+ nations on top of that!
To further clarify, 14 West African countries HAVE NOT ONE CASE OF EBOLA and the other countries 'live rates' are higher than the 'death rates' but they don't report how many people fight off the virus and live. A majority of the people diagnosed with ebola have LIVED. Do a google search and look at the numbers diagnosed vs the numbers that have died and see for yourself.
They are not reporting those numbers in the media because they want to keep the hysteria going. More and more people are able to fight off the virus (there is no magic cure, the 'vaccine' is another way for pharmaceutical companies to profit off this as well!) - if their immune systems are strong and they have good medical care, IVs, antibiotics, etc, the chances are around 85% that they live. If their immune systems are depressed, they die. It's very simple - survival of the fittest at its basic level. The people in those countries that were eating infected monkey meat got it. It has been in that region since 1976 so local populations have been exposed before and there has been no 'epidemic' but now there is.
Again, google it.
In any event, I felt compelled to write and give you the other side of the story because what I am seeing on CCN particularly... it's all a bunch of BS - more people die from malaria. Keep that in mind when your family says that it's too dangerous to come here. There is malaria in the US as well, but they call it 'West Nile Fever' so our southern folks don't feel threatened. I remember taking quinine pills as a little girl to prevent malaria. If you remember your US history, the French sold Louisiana and other southern states because their soldiers were dying of MALARIA... it's always been in the US but they spin it differently there.
I have written on this subject extensively and if you google it, you'll probably see my name pop up! This is a propaganda war, not a war on ebola! If you have the funds to come to Senegal, PLEASE COME! I will send another letter about an NGO that desperately needs interns and volunteers, a girls education program that is doing fantastic work in the villages. They are turning out college graduates and more girls are coming to Dakar (the capital city) for high school and college. They need help and their director, an American woman named Dr. Viola Vaughn reached out to me yesterday, She has been staying at my B&B with her family for a few days while she is here in Dakar on business. I am now reaching out to you.
She has space for 25 volunteers, dorm style rooms in a beautiful solar powered compound in the village of Segou and has been getting grad students from all over the world for years but right now, because of this 'crisis' her volunteer numbers are down. They have a large farming/agriculture program as well and they need help everywhere!
The program has an immediate need for English teachers and people who can organize and run leadership workshops as well as working on their book mobile and with the library. These young women in her program will grow up to be the future leaders in their villages and YOU can have a part in their development program and help these young women and girls gain the self confidence they need to make the cultural changes necessary. In turn, you will learn about their programs and how to duplicate them in your own communities. Some places in America are just as needy as some places in rural Africa, so it will be a two way educational internship, not just one way.
They are getting the education here in Senegal, with our without you, but what Dr. Vaughn says she needs now, is refinement of mentality. They need to see young people, students from other countries and interact with them about college life and the long term commitment to higher education... that's not something they can get in Senegalese schools. I will send a program outline later and those of you that are SERIOUSLY interested, meaning you have the money for transport to Senegal fees for room, board and materials, and WILL COME sometime this year, I will give you her direct contact info so she and give you specific program details based on your skill level.
Come to Senegal, have a good time doing good things and PLEASE, as Public Enemy says, 'Don't Believe the Hype!'
Ends January 30, 2015, 12:00 AM
Join us for a screening of excerpts from The Weight of the Nation, an HBO documentary series addressing the national obesity epidemic, accompanied by a series of family-friendly health and food activities.
Free admission and refreshments (donations suggested)
Location: 2nd floor North Wing
Starts January 29, 2015, 11:30 PM
You are cordially invited to the Living Together Movement forum discussion in New York City.
Theme: "Race, Religion and Identity in 21st-Century America"
When: Thursday, January 29, 2015
Time: 6:30 pm in Eastern Time
Where: John H. Holmes Community House, Front Lounge
28 East 35th Street, New York, NY 10016
Registration: Registration is free and open to the public. You must register at http://icermediation.org/Mediation/Daf/LivingTogetherMovement.html to attend the forum discussion.
"The Living Together Movement is like a home outside a home. We gather, we talk, we listen, we learn, we share and we celebrate in a relaxed, friendly, and welcoming ambience."
It is not unusual to see headlines declaring hate and hostile intention aimed at America these days and played out on the nightly news, including the ever popular slogan "Death to Americans" from various radicalized groups abroad. Like the ubiquitous videos of extremists burning American flags, declarations like this make headlines because they sell newspapers and air-time. We respond strongly not because of its assault on us as individuals, but because it attacks our collective self, our American-ness. Our ideas about who we are as Americans & the ideals that we embrace about what it is to be an American, that is our pride in our national history, preference for capitalism & freedom of speech, democratic governance and a way of life based upon individual effort and shared responsibility. The symbols that we accept as being representative of this are held dear, i.e. the Constitution, Statue of Liberty, the Stars and Stripes, etc. Here is where we are on common ground, the place within which we are unified, where we see ourselves as one people united, but on the ground in everyday life, the reality in America is more complex.
In response to threats against Americans, we may well ask the question, "Which Americans?" Who exactly? Are their deadly intentions meant to be against Native Americans? African Americans? European, Asian, Pacific Island Americans? Atheist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahá'í, or Moslem Americans? Hispanic, Inuit, or Slavic Americans? Professionals? Homemakers? Military families? South Americans? Canadians? The Americans who are refugees, religiously persecuted or political asylum seekers? Genocide, slavery or holocaust survivors? The word Americans, it turns out, is as broad a term imaginable to describe a nation of people. Interestingly, we are among only a few countries on earth where citizens are affiliated almost solely by ideology. Our population does not share common bloodlines, ancient geography or ancestral language. We choose to be one because of our shared ideals. Unlike China, Russia, France or anywhere else for that matter, a person can arrive on our shores, and with the passing of an exam, be one of us, an American.
So, how do we manage this degree of cultural complexity within our shared identity as Americans? As we have all agreed to live under the precepts of our laws and national Constitution, we accept that all members of our society have been created and remain equal in both rights and obligations. And yet, although nearly all of us feel comfortable in this belief intellectually, our behavior often belies that we also believe that the differences between us sometimes require modifications in our personal or public interactions. The conscious and unconscious variations in the perceptions of those who we see as being unlike ourselves can and does generate biases, intolerance and discrimination leading to segregation and marginalization of various peoples by faith, cultural practices, and ethnicity. Perhaps because it is often the most visibly recognizable difference between Americans, bigotry and prejudice between ethnicities, or races, is the most common of these, and in the worst incidents, still at times devolves into violence.
No matter who we are or the when, why or how of our becoming Americans, we bring with us our familiar traditions and cultural mores, as well as the attitudes towards others of our antecedents that shaped us in childhood. We may have been raised by elders who made disparaging remarks or even demonstrated hostility towards other races. We may have grown-up in environments where the merits or character of other peoples were not openly discussed or interrelationships discouraged, but observation of adult behavior illustrated unease in the presence of, or exercised the desire to distance themselves from, those others. Or, we may have had interethnic interactions endorsed, encouraged and practiced by family members, but larger community and societal messages/pressures may have left us wary of groups seen as being too different from our own leaving us uncomfortable in pursuing these relationships, or even developing apprehension in the presence of individuals/groups of other races.
The social sciences have taught that in order to improve relations between ethnic groups, we need to learn more about one another, discover our commonalities and where our values and interests intersect. Also, the literature supports programs in which people of varying racial, religious and cultural backgrounds work together in a learning environment as a way to ease interethnic and interreligious tensions. Both of these strategies are valuable aspects of any process designed to improve cooperation and collaboration between groups that have been largely segregated in a given society.
Another approach worth exploring is the addition of self-identity exploration within groups themselves. Especially among marginalized groups, also in culturally dominant peoples, there is a chiefly unspoken mythology sustaining the beliefs governing how they view their role in broader society. Sometimes this includes unhealthy self-perceptions, for example seeing themselves as victims, persecuted peoples, only safe among their own, vulnerable, at risk, stereotyped, etc., and while some of these parts of their self-identity may have been drawn from personal experience, frequently they have been reinforced through the narrow view of a few vocal community members and the media, which depends on derision and outrage for its existence. And although it is particularly important, especially for those groups most frequently targeted by prejudice to accept that some of these attitudes are based in reality and must be considered to ensure their personal, professional, and social safety, living one's life through this lens reduces individuals and groups to caricatures of themselves rather than encouraging the full expression of who they are and what they have to offer.
This tendency to adopt and adhere to externally depicted societal roles is equally as unhealthy for the group playing the role of the "dominant" ethnicity, i.e. those with greatest influence within governance, education, rule of law, media, etc. at the moment. At present in the US, this group is predominantly made up of Caucasian people of European descent. Through the same process, they may consciously or subconsciously believe themselves to be: the best suited to make local and national decisions, more intelligent, trustworthy, honorable and admirable among the ethnicities. Once these ideas have taken root, they can lead to unrealistic expectations within their group and a lifetime of unfortunate and limiting choices of behavior that keep them from getting to know or fully experiencing productive relationships with people from groups outside their own. This pattern is as damaging to the larger society as that commonly followed by the most marginalized groups experiencing the greatest discrimination, and more importantly, these skewed identities affecting all parties exacerbate misunderstandings and broadens the gap already existing between these groups.
In what way might discussion and exploration into these perceptions of self-identity within groups be useful in:
Highlighting the ways in which groups unconsciously self-sabotage the character of their identities?
Bringing to light the ways in which these misconceptions invite hostility?
Contributing to a more realistic view of present day reality?
Discovering ways in which groups can see themselves in terms of what they have to offer themselves and other groups?
Seeing themselves as playing a healthy role as one of many resources to a broader and evolving American society?
America is often described as being a nation strengthened by its many disparate parts, enjoying the kind of resilience and vitality that comes from the advantages of variety found in nature. As a people, we know cognitively that treating one another with respect and honoring one another's differences is a code of conduct to be aspired to, and most people will concede that we could be doing much better.
Before we can bring change on the outside, we must have a better understanding of where our self and group identity is coming from and take the steps necessary to craft it into something that features our strengths, something that defines us in terms of the advantages that we offer ourselves and others.
What are some ways in which this might come about?
How can this best be fostered and nurtured?
How can we best draw upon the differences that one another bring into the mix to improve the institutions and their effects that have the greatest impact on our lives outside of our families, i.e.:
Law-enforcement and the judiciary?
Local and national politics and their policies?
The media in all of its forms?
Bring your unique stories, cultural backgrounds, life experiences, words of wisdom, feelings, worries, disappointments, success stories, etc. Everyone will be given an equal opportunity to talk about / share with the group anything of particular interest to him or her.
We practice empathic listening, and do not judge or criticize anyone. Our goal is to truly understand the other before seeking to be understood; and to focus on what the other person is saying rather than what we are going to say next.
To celebrate our diversity in a symbolic manner, please bring your favorite/cultural/ethnic songs (if you have one), light food and drinks to the meeting; and together we shall renew our commitment to live together in mutual respect and dignity.
The International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM) is a U.S. based 501 (c) (3) tax exempt public charity, nonprofit and non-governmental organization working to develop alternative methods of preventing, resolving, and educating people about inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts in countries around the world. We work with the State of New York residents and diaspora associations, national governments, judiciary, schools, community leaders, religious groups, peace advocates, media, local, regional and international organizations, etc. to foster a culture of peace among ethnic and religious groups through research, education and training, expert consultation, dialogue and mediation, and rapid response projects. We are committed to creating a new world characterized by peace, irrespective of cultural, ethnic and religious differences. We strongly believe that the use of mediation and dialogue in preventing and resolving ethnic and religious conflicts in countries around the world is the key to creating sustainable peace.
Are you a peace-driven individual? Do you recognize the same humanity in all peoples? Are you passionate about bridging the gap between different races, ethnicities, religions, political views, genders, generations and nationalities, in order to increase respect, tolerance, acceptance, understanding and harmony in the world? If you answer "Yes" to these questions, you are qualified to join the Living Together Movement.
If you'd love to join the Living Together Movement but can't find a forum near you, we encourage you to start a group in your community, state or province. We'll provide you with all the resources and training you'll need to start your group, and help you to get it going. To start a Living Together Movement group forum, please send email to us.
Starts January 29, 2015, 11:30 PM