Monday, May 24, 2004

Sugardaddy took all my pain away. Now I have to say. I'd let him get away with murder.

Well it looks it's going to be South Africa.

After being initially told that I was second choice for the post in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, I heard this morning from VSO that the other applicant has pulled out.

Barring me failing a medical or the good people in Hillbrow having a change of heart then I am likely to be on my way some time in September.

Very very cool. Very very scary.

Hillbrow - my new home will be down there somewhere. Posted by Hello

The job will be part fundraising, part campaigning for an AIDS organisation.

Much of my training weekend was centered around the impact that AIDS is having on Africa. South Africa has the biggest problem of all. A staggering 20% of the population are either HIV positive or have AIDS.

One of the biggest barriers is that the message about wearing condoms is not getting through. It's hardly surprising when put into context. During the apartheid years the black population was frequently told not to have children. This was less for reasons of poverty and more an attempt to control the size of the black population.

Now there is the tendency for the black community to dismiss the virus despite its massive impact on the country. One acronym that is widely used is AIDS: American Invention to Destroy Sex.

We saw a video of miners working in the gold mines. They work long hard hours, a mile underground, and stay in hostels away from their families. At the weekend, they go understandably wild, drinking and whoring. Then they go back to their homes, often hundred of miles away, and pass on the disease to their wives.

They interviewed the prostitutes. They knew the risks, but men would offer more for sex without a condom and they usually gave in because they had children to support.

All in all its a bleak picture. The country remains crippled by debt. Debt that has been paid back many times over but the high interest has meant they still owe more than they borrowed.

Help from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund has come with conditions. The country has to agree to privatisation of amenities, tax cuts and cuts in welfare spending. Once again, the poor get poorer.

In other words they have to adopt a neo-liberal agenda.

Pop quiz - who popularised neo-liberalism?

Yes, Mrs Thatcher, followed by Ronald Reagan.

Is there no end to her legacy?

Anyway, it is going to be a huge challenge. I won't flatter myself that I can make any real difference. But having learnt about VSO's structure of development and how I fit in to the larger picture, it is nice to at least be a piece in the jigsaw.

I have also decided to draw up a list of rules for myself. I want something to refer to when I am having a bad day. I need to put something in writing that reminds me why I am doing this and stops me either giving in or hitting out if anything should go wrong.

In the meantime I am working on the basis of leaving around late September. So I know now what I have to do in terms of my business and my domestic arrangements.

Anyone want to buy a house?

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.