vrijdag 2 maart 2018

“Africans develop no feel for logical thinking”

Two Germans, Thomas Lehn and Constanze Kühnel, have spent years travelling in Africa. They return to Germany and can’t believe how everything just works.

After four years non-stop in Africa, what is the biggest difference from your old home?
Lehn: That everything works here. After our landing for example. And the cleanliness – in Africa you are drowning in garbage. For about 80%, there are no toilets. Here, in Germany, it’s another world.
Lehn: We spoke to more than 1000 people, from poor farmers in the Congo to multi-millionaires in South Africa. Our knowledge would be a treasure trove for the GIZ (Germany Society for International Cooperation) or similar organisations. But they don’t want to hear.
Kühnel: The whole development aid is a business model that creates jobs even in Germany.
Lehn: The naive way that the European media cover this topic is amazing to us. Endless millions of euros are frittered away senselessly, powerful people are rubbing their hands there and here no one understands. It’s funny that African presidents are the richest in the world but their peoples are dirt poor. That makes us angry and sad.
Kühnel: We discussed this with well-educated Africans. One of them said to us: “Just stop with the development aid – we need to walk through the valley of tears ourselves to finally stand on our own feet.”
Are there examples?
Lehn: In a village, development workers built a thermal oven. It uses solar radiation and saves the women from having to perform the communal millet grinding. The idea was that this would give the village women time for other things. But they don’t have anything else to do, because efficiency isn’t a factor in Africa – the millet grinding was the daily social event, and that was taken away from them. At some point the oven stopped working, no one took care of it, they just went back to living as they had in the time before the oven.