In fact this is not a problem we should take to Africa.
This was an announcement made by the Captain of British Airways flight 063 scheduled to depart from London heathrow for Entebbe on 6th May 2010 at 21.05Hours.
The BA carrier developed a fault as it was about to take off and although it could have got us to Africa safely the Captain decided it was best not to chances, for if the plain failed altogether whilst we were out in Uganda the consequences could be dire.
This statement got me thinking about Jason Salder and his 1Million shirts for Africa venture as well as others like him that do not think through what value if any they might add to Africa.
In their quest to want to “help” Africa, I do wonder if they stop, to think their intentions through just like that BA Captain. A good question to ask is whether their projects would be beneficial to Africa or indeed hinder development.
If I take Jason Sadler as an example- he is right in the sense that many Africans (especially those at the bottom of society) would be grateful for a free shirt, but at what cost? . In this example a much better option would be to source the shirts locally.
Whilst BA was reluctant to take a broken plane to Africa and quite rightly so, I noted that the demographics of the passengers on outward flight to Uganda have changed too, there more Caucasian than Africans (Ugandans ) on the flight. Most of Caucasian travellers were heading out to “do their bit” and as we waited for a plane that could get us out their I spoke to a few mostly young Americans heading out for an adventure, some had set up NGOs whilst amongst some Uganda was home as far as there were concerned.
As I pondered this, two thoughts crossed my mind, the image of the country in the eyes of the international community has changed for the best if this many people are travelling out there (this is a good thing) but I also wondered how many had stopped to consider their actions like the good Captain before they set sail?
How many of my fellow passengers were taking broken planes to Africa and continue to do so? Where do the Africans fit in in all this?