Monday, 14 March 2011

Caring for the community don't feed no belly

Haven't been too motivated to write on here. I prefer to just be outside shredding away than doing some talking on here that maybe three people read.

Recycling in Nairobi is hard. I want to make a list of every single obstacle that has come our way since the beginning. It would be a book and I would call it "Recycling in Nairobi and 1,000,000 things that will get in your way." Best seller right there.

With some ok funding from Oxfam and private donors, we have been able to hire some old sex trade workers who help us go and buy plastic and then sort it while we shred the plastic. It's a pretty cool thing although the women are about as enthusiastic as an old shoe. We have come a ways since the start. We are constantly being asked to come and provide training to other people who are trying to do the same business or get visitors from all over the world who come to see what we do.

Is this recycling business going to make people rich? no. We are still struggling to get it profitable.

All I know is that people like Kaka, Farouk, and others like us are at the frontlines of trying to come up with innovative ideas to provide solutions for the problems that are affecting communities.

I recently realized the irony in the situation I am in. I am dedicating my life to trying to get people some stability in their lives, while I myself have an incredibly unstable life. It's funny but I think it actually makes things work well. I think I more than anyone in some organization who gets a nice cheque every month, undertsand the need for hard work and determination to make things work. If you want things to change in your community, the only one that will make it happen is yourself. The neighbourhoods I work in are not just a place I come to shred plastic. They are a place where I meet with other people who share the same mentality I do, LET'S DO SOMETHING.

I just feel that if most of these huge aid organizations were to spend a little more time on the ground, at least getting a feel for the dynamics of reality instead of what they learned for 4 years in a text book and then moved directly behind a desk, that a lot more could be accomplished. If people are interested in working in solidarity with people in poverty, they need to stop talking "At them" and talk "With them". I love when I meet someone from an organization who works in poverty alleviation or something but instantly upon looking at them you can tell they have probably never stepped foot on a bus, or used a hammer, or once only ate rice for dinner.

I don't know why I'm getting bitter today, I guess I have a lot on my mind. The truth is there is a lot I want to do and I just wish I had a million million dollars I could spend on sweet projects that I know would be so good. But some young dude from East Vancouver is not going to change a hell of a lot. What I know is that I have enough awesome people with me that together we will continue to try as much as possible to keep the fight alive.

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