Feb 10, 2012

Lost: 2 Wwoofers and 24 Africans

Friday night on the town looks a lot different in Duncan than in Vancouver. Took the boys in to see Watoto, a traveling choir from Uganda that peddles Jesus and rescued orphans. I am glad my children got the cultural experience of seeing real African kids on stage, but disappointed at the presentation of the colonialist religious fare instead of the rich traditional music and dance that I experienced there. Yes, Christianity is now a solidly African stream, and it's been there long enough and is distinct enough in its expression from Canadian churches that it is a genuine part of the culture; I just always feel like it's not as "real" as the stuff that's been passed down for centuries, and evolving for centuries, and newly invented out of those roots instead of out of our Western roots. I want Papa Wemba, not Father Ng'ong'o.

The word "Rescue" jumped out at me so many times. Watoto is here to http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif"reschttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifue children", taking them from thehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifir home areas and into beautiful, holistic orphanages called villages. As orphanages go these are really nice, a great model and great aims. I just always question whether orphanages are the best route. Other programs in Africa work to support the children and the people taking care of them (grandmothers, uncles, neighbours) so that the fabric of the society is not further ripped apart. Taking them away from their people, no matter how nice the next home, is a further trauma to a child already in crisis. Plus, the amount of resources required to run an orphanage for 100 children could support many more children in their home environments. It's a well-intentioned program and overall a great blessing for the children lucky enough to be selected, but not the long-term solution for a nation in need of deeper societal change and grass-roots support to address its own challenges. For my buck, I'll stick with Oxfam for the long-term stuff and ACCES for the direct support.

Thankfully my children were fading once the music ended and the sales pitch began (note, as a professional fundraiser I don't begrudge the donations appeal one bit). So we headed back to downtown Duncan to find our two "Wwoofer" farm volunteers who were having a brief night on the town. Failing to find them at the pub, we spent the next 45 minutes hitting everything that was open in town. Two live music venues (folk and reggae tonight), 6 restaurants, 1 pizza joint. Finally found them back at the pub. We live in a town where we can hit everything open in 45 minutes(not including the fast-food boxes on the highway, or the scattered little places outside of town). All that on foot, in a light rain, with 2 children and not an ounce of fear. Just a grand exploration adventure to add to their odd life-experiences quiver.

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