Friday, October 28, 2016

Broken Timelines, Broken Trucks, Broken "Laws," Broken Roads, Broken Arms, Broken Wallets...

For those who knows, the author works in a job where the main responsibility is providing agricultural inputs to farmers on loan.  The method by which it is done is through a series of retail outlets in the remotes villages where farmers can visit to purchase those inputs on loan.  So naturally, preparing to open the shops requires transport of the said inputs from a central warehouse to the locations of the shops.  As the coming agricultural season approaches, the team here is beginning those "truck runs."  Unfortunately bottlenecks are everywhere, and some of them experienced recently could be considered novel for the inexperienced.

Friday, October 21, 2016

A "Pet" as a First World Concept

The house that the author resides in here in Iringa is now also inhabited by a 4-month-old kitten, a sort of pet that his roommate has been looking to acquire for sometime.  So far one of the most interesting thing about the experience is to observe how the Tanzanian housekeeper (who comes thrice a week) interact with (or, more accurately, behaves toward) the kitten.  To put concisely, it is almost one of bipolarism, petting the animal and giving her attention one moment, but loudly (and rather harshly) shooing it away whenever the kitten gets jumpy and playful enough to interrupt her housework.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Has Capitalism Failed People Who "Have No Interest in Money"?

Working in rural Tanzania, the author has encountered these kinds of people.  They, and their family, tend not to have much money, but they do not work simply because they "do not like to work."  No, these are not people who are falsely called "lazy."  Real lazy people likes money, but simply do not want to put in the effort to earn it.  These people, however, simply have no interest in earning money to begin with.  Perhaps if they are more motivated to earn money, they would work very hard and persistently.  But one simply cannot tell because they show not enough desire to earn money in order to work hard.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Reconciling Religious and Traditional Pieties: Buganda Way of Taking in Christianity without Diluting and Losing Their Social Identity

“The great-grandfather of the current King is probably the most honored one of all the recent kings of Buganda,” the smiling young man kindly showing the author around the great halls of the Buganda Parliament proudly noted as they passed under a gigantic portrait of the young-looking king sitting on his throne at the turn of the 20th century.  “After all, he is the one who wrote a letter of Queen Elizabeth, asking her to specifically send Christian missionaries to the Buganda Kingdom so that the people can be taught of the great religion.”  He was quick to add as explanation.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Is Sensationalized Focus on Individuals in Poverty Crowding out Efforts to Build Sustainable Systems to Eradicate Poverty?

Anyone would have seen the tear-jerking photo: a malnourished African child, dressed in torn rags that can barely be defined as "clothing" and sitting on barren red dirt, tears and nasal mucus freely following down her earth-crested face.  It is a poster child for the likes of UNICEF, so well-utilized to help part the sympathetic rich folks of the First World with their cash.  Itis a strategy used prevalently even among the less fortunate in more well-off places: give a visual representation of misfortune, and the many people who feel sorry will mindlessly donate to "end the misfortune."

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How Modern-Day Liberal Internationalism is Fundamentally Neocolonialist

In a world where political labelling is rife, it is not easy to precisely define a set of values that constitute a political ideology.  "Liberalism" is a particularly tough one at that.  People speak of certain values being universal, especially when it comes to the field of human rights.  For such people, those who dare to oppose such values are not only barbaric and uncivilized, but also on the right side of history, sure to be perceived in the negative light in the history books of the future.  To them, it is simply unfortunate that these barbarians do not see their own barbarism and make self-motivated efforts to correct themselves.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Why a Tax on Farm Produce, Contradictorily, Might be Good for African Farmers

In practice, farmers here in rural Tanzania do not pay taxes today.  The reason is rather obvious.  On one hand, it is just too logistically difficult to collect taxes on millions of farmers who live far apart from one another.  If attempted, the cost of collecting taxes (walking around villages asking for cash) probably would exceed the collected amount by many times.  Only systematic usage of mobile money can resolve this problem.  Without a scalable way to have farmers themselves hand over money for fear of credible threats of punishment, everyone will just evade tax.