ONG Organisation Non Gouvernementale Zinder Niger West Africa Saturday, October 7, 2006
I was gung ho, quick to think, quick to make decision, quick to find answers on the problems of malnutrition after I saw a feeding center in Zinder last year. Fortunately, persistence and sound learning skills on my part has prevailed.
I know many concepts of culture, how it works, how it fails to work, I move continuously from one culture to the next culture.
I make a joke, - When I can speak the language of the culture, marry a women form the country, and then live in the country for 20 years. I will then may have a right to say my opinion about the country. Up until then, I am just guessing. -
The joke of this is any Western person will sit around for hours and tell stories of what is wrong with a country or culture and all the ways to fix it; however, I do know, I do not know how to fix it, but I still like to talk.
ONG Organisation Non Gouvernementale The French acronym ONG and the words to explain in French for the English equivalent of NGO Non Governmental Organization.
Applying my joke, I need to speak the language….
This is accurate and Niger is officially a French speaking country, however lets be real. They do not speak French, they speak Hausa as the major language and they do not read or write, therefore in Niger may jokes takes a meandering path down a crazy trail.
I commend the Peace Corps, they are the only ones I know who learn to speak Hausa, however they are not a NGO or ONG, they are an arm of the United States Government.
I stole the term from some description from some novel explaining how to set up an offshore hide your money account by having four separated corporations until the owners were hidden. They called it a four-layered cake, if I remember correct.
I say, - Multi Layered Cake -
Culture is a multi-layered cake, that can only be eaten slowly and over time, as you eat one layer, the next layer slowly exposes itself. To understand another culture other than you own, you must experience and understand this, you cannot learn it in a book, and it is an experience. My guess is the two-year stint of the Peace Corps is just about the correct time to have the experience. However, there is this ability of a person to completely avoid having the experience, therefore only about one in ten Peace Corps volunteers, maybe paid is better, but they are not just free, they get a stipend, well, the one in ten probably starts to understand. That does not mean they have the will, fortitude or the ability to stick the knife in the belly and twist to make hard decision that implement change.
Learning ONG Organization Non Gouvernementale is maybe me evolving from layer one of this cake to start to eat layer two.
Traveling from Abidjan to here by bush taxi in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin has given me an overview of the cultures that influence this culture. I am on the median here; I am on the cusp between Arabic Islamic cultures of the Middle East and the more Christian Catholic cultures of the coast or southern Africa. I am confused traveling in the world of Anglophone and Francophone, so forth and onward.
I just realized one thing and maybe I understand now. Red Cross means the Christian one and Red Crescent is the Islamic or Muslim versions.
I am a curious sort, I rather like to learn about anything and everything, and then I connect the dots until the multi layered cake of the specific topic become clear.
I do now know the name of the studies in University that deals with NGO or ONG however, I am sure it is oversimplified. There is the study or tribes, language, history, cultures, business, poverty, learning and many correct words or the technical words that explain the study of these words.
Ethnology, Anthropology, International studies etc. and many form words of study, however if you know the list of studies, then maybe the first layer is being exposed of what ONG Organisation Non Gouvernementale means or is, and what they do.
I on the other hand, see some very negative results and think Ahimsa, or first do no harm, before I go off wanting to change the world.
No story is as simple as it first appears, and the humility to take a stance, and then accept knowingly that next week, year, moment you may need to adapt and accept you are wrong, and then a person can start, has a chance.
I write many things in this blog, sometimes I wish to go back and edit, correct, save my butt from looking so stupid. On the other hand, this has no humility, it says, I will only expose the perfect Andy, I will not expose the real, authentic Andy. This is in the bottom line, only a personal diary, it is not some research study and should not be read as one and trust me, you should not trust a the facts in a guidebook, just read as a guide. I am not even a guide, I am just some guy traveling the world and enjoying spouting off opinions, some are wrong and some or terribly accurate.