Thursday, November 25, 2010

Broguhe--Chief Léon, 2010

Broguhe is located 30 km outside of Daloa, Côte d'Ivoire, on the road to Man. The village itself is reached after 6 km on a laterite road. The chief's name is Meguhe Sery Léon, and I have known him since 2005. Project Hope and Fairness has since then brought boots, machetes, sharpeners, a scale, plastic bags, a moisture meter, and last year we dug a well.

In this interview, Chief Léon shows that he has used all the tools in ways that have benefited his village. For example, the moisture meter allows farmers in his village to store the cocoa and sell it at a higher price, determined from listening to the radio.

This interview shows that the "Santa Claus critics", those who critique charity, are not always right. Gifts can do good; it is the nature of the gift that determines its efficacity. If you just plunk stuff in the village and drive off, yes, you are behaving like Santa Claus. If, however, you spend time discussing the use of the new tools and asking about what works best, then you are not behaving like Santa Claus.

One last observation. Chief Leon is a real politician: always upbeat. Contrast this interview with that of Ble Ibo Appolinaire, who expresses quite eloquently I think his exhaustion and his frustration.

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