Saturday 14 April 2007

An evening of charity

I have done one of the things i never thought i would in my life...
I went to one of the charities that are tailor made for know one of theose ones that advertise the starving children with the thin dry thighs, flies in their mouths and eyes, famine-cracked dry soil, robust vultures and the like of that, charities concerned wiith hunger in africa, aids in africa, war in the continent.
The reason for that thinking?.......that none of those events that are stemmed in western patronising attitudes had any kind of effect on the many african issues that they were not entirely innocent of their causes in the first place.
I would imagine a bunch of western imperialist tut-tutting in their straw hats and mini sandwiches over how "cute", "innocent looking", "really loving life " the African children a way that suggests that they are surprised that african children might be similar to white offsprings in the first place.
It takes a bit sometimes to take a look at how bigotted one does not realise one is.....
But I digress....anyways I went to the charity event of the
Food for hunger, a New York collaboration between bourgeoise resturants and international designers to host a food tasting event, with fashion show and auction at the end of it to raise money, in addition to the ticketing takings.....
So when someone had offered me free tickets to a fund raising charity event, shamlessly i went anyway, to do my part for the continent.....
LOADS of people showed up, cold april weather or not....awoof apparently knows no colour or gender...
In a huge TV screen, greeting me right after the coat check were those same old images of Africa as defined unoriginally as ....flies, kids, and more flies...tried and everytime
I get in there aand everything is spiffy, art types and lovers of them, models, photographers..all in the room swilring around once again high culture...
The food is amazing and plentiful, red wine is in the house and im happy.
In spite of this I cant help but feel out of sorts, here we are in a cool swanky hall, food, music and even potential couplings...and the skeptic in me wants to keep asking......
Are we doing anything? making the potential difference to the problems of Africa?
Im on the other side now...that part of the fence that had the people who were formerly the targets of my scorn...we wined and dined and made ourselves believe that by merely putting our dollars in a pot for some trite memento, we would be able to sleep easy. (I got an orginal rolled havana cigar, rolled apparently by a famous afficionado who flew in to attend from Cuba. Its still on my dresser, it gives me pleasure just to even LOOK at it)
But there was one thing that i didnt prepare for learning that night, a lesson in spite of myself.
Do-gooders alwayd get bad rap right? and that is because we, the others never are able to see beyond their awkward attempts to do what they consider is the right thing, frankly because its more fun really to laugh at those fumblings than give credit.
sure there were those people who came for the food, photo-op opportunities and shmalzing with the quasi-famous.
But there were other people who came with the fabled heart of gold, who just were looking for the right place to fulfil their calling.
They came to the people like me in the audience, asked questions , wanted to know beyond whats was superficially served as the definition of the circumstances of Africa.
I felt my myself, in spite of myself, thawing to gestures like that, and deciding not to look their gift horse in the mouth any more.
The real charity of the evening, was not in the money, but the giving of the spirit that some of the participants showed that evening.
So the next time there is a charity ball, i shall put that cynical imp inside me to sleep, wear a dress, shave my legs and go and have over-priced food, and hope one of the miracles of the evening will be that a heart that is ready, will meet a cause that is true.
The cause for which we were gathered can be seen here....


Chude! said...

"images of Africa as defined unoriginally as ....flies, kids, and more flies...tried and everytime"

Unoriginal? This meaning they are not true? That there's not a huge number of African children thus surrounded by flies? That the fact that there are some of us using wireless internet in the Nigerial Law School means there are not those living with these flies in the Niger Delta and in Katsina etc? That these do-gooders should have used pictures of South African children going to school with laptops and Kit-Kat???

Thank God your cynicism is thawing. But I say: not enough.

How you dey o??!

Wole's Girl said...

They dont have to go to south Africa to find Kit-kat and lap tops....there are those in Nigeria, and gasp...even in Rwanda too....
I have missed you too Chude
Ha ha ha!!!, cant wait to see you so we can chew our issues to bits!