What do we do with Africa? (#3)

West Africa is in a crisis. Matthew Wade’s article from last Saturdays SMH A Tragedy in Niger highlighted the problem in graphic ways. How do we in the safety and abundance of Australia respond?

Step #1 – Be aware. Appropriate action flows from an informed heart.

Step #2 – Play an active part in prompting Macro response.

Whilst 99.99% of individuals in Australia can make no macro difference to the problems in Africa, we can all respond in micro ways. We can help 1 person. We can help 1 child. We can provide 1 bag of food. We can provide 1 injection of medicine.

When the numbers are this small, the opportunity becomes manageable!!

I am not naive. I know when i purchase “water supplies” from tear, not all my money goes to the water supplies. There is a pool that my money goes into and is distributed hopefully wisely by the corporation I donate too.

However is this an excuse not to try and help 1 person?

There are stacks of organizations working in west Africa trying to help that 1 person, that 1 child, get food for tomorrow. Check them out.

My preferred group is Compassion. I love their values. I love their action on the ground. I appreciate how they inform me.
Step #3: There is a micro response every human can make.
The micro response is caring for 1 person. 1:1. When you think of it like this it is never overwhelming.
More tomorrow …

What do we do with Africa? (#2)

Matt Wade wrote an eye opening piece in the SMH on Saturday called A Tragedy in Niger. There is an ongoing crisis in Africa and in the modern world we cannot claim ignorance. How do we respond?

Step 1: Be aware. Appropriate action flows from an informed heart.

What ELSE do we do with Africa?

There are some categories that are helpful for me. There is the macro response and the micro response. There is the immediate response and there is the long term response. All 4 are needed if we are going to genuinely help.

The Macro response is where we try and make a dent in the problem. 99.99% of people cannot do this. The problem is simply too big. Philanthropists like Bill Gates can. However, our governments can make a macro response to global tragedies. They have the financial and political resources to make small but genuine dents in the problem.

“Last week, the Australian government committed an extra $16 million in emergency assistance to those affected by drought, local conflict and the collapse of local markets in west Africa and South Sudan. That brings Australia’s total humanitarian assistance to the Sahel and South Sudanese food crises to $31 million since the beginning of the year. The Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, said the crisis was ”escalating at an alarming rate”.

As a small nation we are making a tiny dent in the problem. My worry is that the nature of western consumerism and our political democracies is that foreign aid becomes an optional for rich nations. It worries me that to reach a budget surplus our government cut foreign aid amongst other things. Given our hung parliament and the dire predictions of the polls, it would not surprise me if foreign aid is cut again before the next election.

How can influence macro response to global issues?

We petition the government. We use the power of our words, the power of numbers, the power of our vote to persuade the government to act. They will not act unless prompted. Macro responses, large scale aid for tragic situations, in democratic countries must flow from people power not simply good policy.

How often do you write to your local member or the government? ‘

Happy to repost comments with helpful ideas/thoughts on how to prompt Macro responses by governments and institutions

Step 2: We play an active part in prompting Macro response.

More tomorrow ….

What do we do with Africa? (#1)

Matt Wade wrote a compelling piece in Saturdays SMH called A Tragedy in Niger. With photographer Janie Barrett, his article brings a personal and broad picture of the issues in Africa.



Political Unrest

These words are so foreign to western ‘city’ dwellers. We know what they mean but it is so difficult to emphasize with what they look like on the ground

Africa has been a continent in need for generations. We have seen the ads of starving children for decades. In my head I know I am immune to the emotional plays made by marketing guru’s who want my heart, my dollars, my …

Matt Wade focuses on Niger, but the story is not much different Somalia, Chad, Mali and other countries. The figures are daunting

  • 6.5 million people in Niger are starving (18 million affected)
  • 8% of kids admitted to hospital from malnutrition die
  • The number of¬† kids suffering malnutrition arriving at hospital has quadrupled
  • Australia Govt has given 31 million in aid since January

What do we do with Africa?

Step 1 – Be aware. Read the article. Skip the politics and the blame game. Simply be aware. Read the stories of the kids. Pause at the numbers.

More tomorrow¬† …

Coffee in Port: The Corner

When we used to visit PM on holidays, the Corner was our local. With Campos Beans you knew the chances of getting a quality coffee were above average. Parking is easy. The service was reliable. Breakfast is yum. It was our favourite.

Now we are locals and the Corner remains one of our favourites. It is like a reliable friend. It is not the best coffee in town. My brew this morning was under developed, being a little light on flavour. However it was very drinkable, as has every coffee I have ever had there. This cafe is the one you go to when you don’t want risk. AND My little boy loves it because they make the best babychinos!!


Coffee in Port: Beantree

Beantree is a unique cafe on Port Macquarie’s main street. Located down near KFC, it is a hidden treasure. It has a small but warm inside area that was packed with locals at 9am on a Tuesday morning. Outside is a big garden courtyard with plenty of room for kids to roam. It is a little oasis in the busyness of Horton Street.

The Coffee was excellent. The flavour was strong, tasty, slightly acidic and nutty.

This cafe is a real find. Though probably a local haunt for mums and kids, it remains a quality coffee institution serving a rich yummy brew.