@Anand: I may not have meant any of it in the harsh way. Maybe the words came out wrong.
No worries -- sometimes these online chats aren't the best medium to convey what one is really trying to say. I totally agree that there's a lot of work to do here in the USA -- and also in England where I'm from -- but I also think it would not be good for us to always be looking inward at our own problems -- it's good to look outwards and try to help others like Erin is doing.
@Max: I may not have meant any of it in the harsh way. Maybe the words came out wrong. I know people are doing all the good work, and they should keep it up too. It just bothered me to know that people were not improving the area they live in. I'm sure even the most powerful countries have problems, and engineers, doctors, teachers, police officers, fire fighters etc can only make the situation better. Education is an important thing in today's world.
@Anand: Re your various comments -- with all due respect, at least Erin is off her backside doing all sorts of things to help other people, both here in America and in other countries around the world.
She certainly puts me to shame -- how about you? You seem to have a lot of criticisms as to Erin's work -- can we assume that you devote a substantial amount of your time and money to helping people in other ways? Just askin'
Thanks David. I appreciate the conversation and your words of support. I'll mention here that I have put in my volunteer efforts here at home via tutoring at a local elementary school and teaching yoga to hospital patients but now, at least for a while, turn my efforts toward Tanzania.
@David.Ashton & @Anand.Yaligar: valid points. I think in the survival scheme of things, addressing hunger and access to clean water comes first before education. But education is indeed the key to advance to the next step as well as improve the previous ones; it is the only way to make 'have' out of 'have-not's' IMHO.
Every living thing in this world does its best to stay alive, an innate desire to live. Humans go a step further urged by the same innate desire to learn.
Erin, a very good rebuttal of thesse points. I don't suggest that charity should not begin at home, but you're entitled to put your efforts where you want, and where you think they will get the most "bang for your buck". My original point was that African kids are keen to learn in a way that I have not seen in a lot of first-world countries. Yes, there are problems everywhere - look at the current protests in Ferguson. Throwing money at them is not going to solve anything right now.
Since being in Australia I have been kinda shocked at the level of self-interest in politicians which I did not expect, and that goes for most developed countries I think. The US govenment has the resources to solve a lot of problems if it wants to. The Tanzanian government does not have such luxury.
You're one person, doing your best to solve some problems that have obviously hit a nerve with you. If there are problems in your home country, your government should be trying to sort them out with the taxes you pay, and if they don't, vote them out. One person can always make a difference, and where and how you choose to do it is your affair.
@Anand, for sure, it's a multi-faceted problem. When you see pictures of kids affected by the Palestine / Israel squabbles or ISIS - and lots more trouble spots in the world - you have to feel for them - what sort of life are they going to have? Many African kids have it good in comparison.
Anand, I agree. Thank you for your input. Education is important but on its own cannot solve everything. Poverty is a holisitc issue and has many elements that need to be addressed in order to help people help themselves out of poverty. Healtcare, food and clean water are crucial. At St. Timohty's School there is also a food sustaining garden where the children are also learning to garden, and a boarding home. You may read more about all of the projects that we participate in around Africa: http://www.mamahope.org/our-projects/
Our world is a living organism – breathing from the interactions among the environment to the ecology to the people living within it. To suggest that 'doing good' outside of our own backyard is misdirected and narrow minded, even for an engineer. 'Our own backyard' thinking is Paleolithic– good for diets, bad for a world view. You can keep treating the fungus in your own backyard lawn all you want but if you don't want it coming back, you better help neighbors with their backyards too.
A positive contribution in any part of the world makes the entire organism healthier and thereby benefits everyone – including the good ole USA. Not to mention, just a good thing to do. It is important for people from the MOST privileged society in the history of the world to help out the LEAST privileged societies in the world. Anything else would be socially and morally unacceptable. Go Erin!!! Thanks for stepping up.