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Great Ideas: Playpumps

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  1. josh bottomly | Feb 18, 2008 | Reply

    Hi Jay,

    What a great story of finding a creative way to harness the natural resources right under their feet. What I liked is that this playpump is something that will sustain communities, and provide enhanced opportunities for girls in particular to attend school. Who would have thought that something so simple would significantly help contribute to improved educational opportunities for girls, and practically help us approximate toward the MDR’s.

    I plan to show our house church this video. We have one fella, Clint, who is a chemist, and plans after graduate school, to move over to Africa to help solve the unclean water crisis. He’ll love this video

    Also I just read Michael Knox Beran’s article “Hearts of Darkness.” It’s a thoughtful, well-researched, though scathing criticism of Jeffrey Sachs and other “Africats” like Bono and Bush who are [according to Beran] unwittingly institutionalizing poverty through a paternalistic approach to foreign aid. He makes some valid points, which provokes me to re-examine my motives for wanting to get involved in the Ethiopian crisis — I found myself frozen in my tracks when Beran argues that too often our desire to help is really our concealed longing to satiate our “messianic narcisstic” thirst, and like Kurtz from The Heart of Darkness, a way to seek hero worship and “get adored”?

    In his conclusion Beran wrote the following:

    If the prosperous nations really want to help Africa, they need to resist the seducations of paternalism. They need to promote, not policies that will e nsure that the continent remains a collection of fiefdoms dependent on subsidies and celebrity pity, but wealth-generationg entrepreneurial efforts. They need to export, not a dated philosophy of mandarinis, but ideas that really can lift peoples and nations out of the lower depths — the ideas of Bacon, Hayek, de Soto, and The Wealth of the Nations.

    I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on Beran’s article.

    Recently, I heard a church planter from South Africa talk about how difficult it has bee to shake loose of colonial missiologies [aka paternalistic ways of presenting the Gospel]. He shared how the call of Christians is not to try and be the “white man hero” but instead the “willing servant.” I know you agree this point. To be servants and students, this is what Amy and I [along with our house church] strive to be in regards to Ethiopia.

    I wondered how much you have thought about colonial versus post colonial missiology, and what books have helped you think through the ways we can bring correction and healing to the damage we have done in the past 100 years or so.

    I know I’ve dumped a lot, but again, you’ve got two Ph.D.’s so I know you can handle it.



  2. jay | Feb 19, 2008 | Reply

    Josh, important points above–though I doubt that Bono is into hero worship. I’m pretty confident his motives are right. It’s hard to see what he’s seen and not respond with “charity.” Of course, charity is not development and we need to work for solutions that “honor” Africans and build up indigenous capacity. Couple quick books to read: and

    Charity is easy; development is culture change built on wise policy and deep relationships–both of which take a long time. As families partner in FFA, part of the challenge is getting us to to the hard work of development and not default to single or multiple acts of charity. Help us think thru how to do that. Jay

  3. Nicole Raymond | Feb 25, 2008 | Reply

    What a wonderful thing you are doing regarding Africa. I have been on touch with Jody and followed her journey. Our family has adopted Rwanda and has followed the guidelines to a “T”. Africa is truly blessed to have people like you looking after them and praying for their well being. Please feel free to look at my familes addition to Rwanda. We are very proud of our conrtibution and love Africa as you do. God Bless.

    Nicole Raymond

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