You should see the rubbish that we have bestowed on unsuspecting African people. You want to read the book, read “Dead Aid,” by Dambisa Moyo, Zambian woman economist. The book was published in 2009. We Western donor countries have given the African continent two trillion American dollars in the last 50 years. I’m not going to tell you the damage that that money has done. Just go and read her book. Read it from an African woman, the damage that we have done.
We Western people are imperialist, colonialist missionaries, and there are only two ways we deal with people: We either patronize them, or we are paternalistic. The two words come from the Latin root “pater,” which means “father.” But they mean two different things. Paternalistic, I treat anybody from a different culture as if they were my children. “I love you so much.” Patronizing, I treat everybody from another culture as if they were my servants. That’s why the white people in Africa are called “bwana,” boss.
So years and years ago, I had this idea: Why don’t we, for once, instead of arriving in the community to tell people what to do, why don’t we, for once, listen to them?
Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!