It is extremely hard for me to write a light and entertaining post this morning. The last few days have brought chaos and difficult times both here in Botswana, other areas of Africa and back home in Canada.
Here in Botswana after experiencing weeks of unrelenting heat, humidity and little rain the weather has finally shifted. While rain was desperately needed – all of Gaborone has been on water restrictions for well over a month and dams across the country remain low – the heavy rains in some areas are causing natural disasters.
Yesterday morning I learned about a village in the western part of the country that received over 250 mm of rain in less than 24 hours. Not only is it experiencing flooding but more than 15 homes, traditional mud huts, collapsed as a result. These homes are all these people have and the flooding in these areas is dramatically impacting agriculture as well. This weather shows how delicate is the balance in nature between replenishing and disaster.
Across the continent of Africa, there is violence caused by both nature and mankind. At times it is truly dishearten.
Add to this the fact that my friends and colleagues back home in Prince Edward Island at Veterans Affairs Canada are once again the target of government cuts. The Federal Government of Canada is determined to cut a grand total of 800 jobs by 2015 from the Canadian Ministry that provides services to Canada’s veterans. On Thursday 233 people received letters that told them that their jobs were being cut.
My friends and colleagues were on the receiving end of these letters. Even though I am here in Africa these cuts are affecting me. Yes, for now my job which I am slated to return to January 2, 2014 appears to have escaped the slash and burn that the department is undertaking. But I feel intensely for my friends who either will not have a job in the very near future or must compete against each other. Perhaps this is why the movie/book “The Hunger Games” was so popular. It appears that this cruel game of pitting people against each other in a survival match is an acceptable tactic in the bureaucracy.
I truly don’t know if I am more angry than sad. Yes, everyone in the department has known that cuts will continue to be made. And I have no doubt that some cuts are necessary. However, what is not fair are the cruel ways in which the cuts are inflicted. You add in those who have worked for a long time and could safely retire to allow those younger and with limited safety nets to stay secure, yet their greed to have more keeps them there in jobs that they truly don’t care about. That truly angers me. I don’t care who I offend by saying that! If you have a reasonable pension to exist on, do the right thing. Step a side and give someone else the same opportunity that you had.
I don’t like this world that we live in that is dominated by greed not caring!
To my friends and colleagues, yes, I am far away here in Africa, but I truly feel all of the frustration, anger and uncertainty that you are experiencing. Since coming to Africa you have been an incredible support to me, please know that I am here to support you as well.