Monday, January 05, 2015

the church in Africa

report of Africa's news stories of the last year
from catholic world report

includes notes about South Africa's elections but doesn't mention Zimbabwe

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Zim refugees take two

AlJazeerah story from August  2013 gives the backstory

Zimbabwe refugees in South Africa

AlJazeerah covers the stories.

Evicting refugees from a church

Since 2000, the Central Methodist Church in central Johannesburg became something of an institution for refugees from a host of African countries, particularly Zimbabwe, looking for a new life.
The church provided shelter, counselling, medical services, education for children and even skills development.
Verryn said helping refugees has been a difficult and divisive issue, especially when so many South Africans needed help themselves.
"We have a country that is fairly unfriendly to refugees. We have a cold prejudice towards them ... it's been a very difficult journey for many," he said.
After the xenophobic riots in May 2008 that left 62 people dead, the church became even more important as a safe house for asylum seekers and refugees from across the continent.
At one point, about 2,000-3,000 people were squeezed inside the church premises, raising the ire of local government.
Some estimates suggest that since 2000, more than 30,000 refugees have passed through the doors of the church at one point or another.

Islamic terror group in Uganda

From Global Security

The Alliance of Democratic Forces (ADF) is made up of Ugandan opposition forces, supported by the Government of Sudan, which fought the Government of Uganda. The ADF was formed in the late 1990s. According to the UN, most of its members are Islamists who want to establish Sharia law in Uganda. This Ugandan Muslim rebel group has conducted limited activities in Uganda and DR Congo. The Allied Democratic Forces, originally a Ugandan based insurgency, now operates in eastern DRC and is listed as a terrorist organization.
The Ugandan government has alleged that ADF has support from Sudan, an assertion backed up by Western diplomatic sources. It also says the ADF has links with Somalia’s al-Shabab, although some analysts contest this. Analysts agree the group has a bad human rights record.
SenseOfEvents blog reports:

United Methodist Bishop Unda Yemba Gabriel is resident bishop of the East Congo Episcopal Area. He preached at the Tennessee Annual Conference last summer, of which I am a member. He sent this message to Tennessee Conference Bishop Bill McAlilly this week.
To brothers and sisters in Christ:
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
As I write these few lines, my heart is too heavy because of the situation going on in Beni territory, northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is part of my Episcopal Area. The efforts of our army (are) insufficient to protect people. 
People there are killed every day in the neighboring villages and we run the risk of losing all our believers. Two weeks ago, a group of Uganda rebels killed people in the villages (of) Kamango, Oicha and Mbawu. A Methodist family (a father, his wife and their two children) were killed with machetes. 
Many people are fleeing to Beni. Our local congregations there are crowded with displaced people who flee from villages for their lives. We need your prayers. But, as you know, food and basic needs must be met. Our evangelization should reach people in need. 
I am sending this SOS message to all those who may want to help. 
May God be with us all during Christmas, but let’s keep in mind that our brothers and sisters are dying somewhere because of selfish interests. 
Bishop Unda Yemba Gabriel
Resident Bishop, East Congo Episcopal Area

Thursday, October 16, 2014

don't listen to Africans

Cardinal Kasper of Germany, who is attempting a pc takeover of the catholic church, complains that African bishops want to remain true to the bible

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/environmental-infection-control-in-hospitals.htmlhttp://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/10/dont-listen-to-the-africans-says-catholic-cardinal

excuse the poor posting, I am using my tablet. Ditto for lack of posts...computer problems.  I finally bought a new kne two days ago so may restart blogging.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ebola

Lots of nonsense and propaganda out there about ebola, and a lot of it with a hint of racism or politics.

So go rea this report on the sisterblog of the National Catholic Reporter, about how the church there is coping with the problem.


As fear and confusion gripped the country over how to deal with the killer virus, Liberia’s already shaky health system collapsed. In small local clinics, sometimes entire staffs of eight or 10 people were killed within days. The Catholic church’s biggest hospital in the capital of Monrovia, which employs over 185 staff, was forced to close after nine of their top doctors and administrators died of the virus.
According to World Health Organization statistics from Oct. 3, there have been 7,492 Ebola cases and 3,439 deaths in the current outbreaks. Liberia has been the hardest hit, accounting for 3,834 cases of Ebola and 2,069 deaths.
“The crisis now is health services have come to a standstill,” said Brilliant. Compounding the problem, in August, borders closed and cargo planes refused to land, meaning that things like personal protective equipment (PPEs), the spacesuit-like outfits that protect health workers from the virus, could not arrive. Some organizations pulled their international staff out of the country, but other experts and doctors who wanted to come to Liberia to assist found land borders closed and airports not functioning.
“This past month it’s been a disaster, and the government knows this,” said Brilliant. “Having said that, it’s understandable, because coming out war, the health system was not strong, there was no supply chain management. It was a disaster waiting to happen and it’s happened. The health system is shaken, not dead, but shaken.”
(Liberia’s civil war, when Charles Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia overran the country, lasted from the late 1980s to 2003, when Taylor fled the country for Nigeria. Approximately 250,000 people were killed during the fighting, and the country’s infrastructure was decimated.)
As the country struggled through the early days of the virus in August and September, the Catholic church kicked their network into high gear. The church has 18 clinics and hospitals in the diocese of Monrovia. Even in the worst days of the outbreak, they kept 15 open. Across Liberia, there are approximately 600 hospitals and clinics; 300 are privately run and faith-based, Brilliant said.  

Sunday, August 31, 2014

How bad are things in Central Africa?

It's so bad that even the pygmies have their own militia to protect them.

scroll down this report on StrategyPage

The Katangan separatists and a Pygmy militia fought in May 2014. Pygmies, because of their short stature, have long been persecuted and tend to live by themselves deep in the jungle. There they acquired a reputation of being experts in getting around the bush and as hunters. The wide availability of cheap firearms since the 1990s has evened the combat odds and the Pygmies are now able and inclined to shoot back when attacked.

one is reminded of the Shona proverb: Even a small snake has a tooth...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

ngo's

StrategyPage has a long article on NGO's.

The red cross is the "oldest" NGO, but they note:

 Actually, the Catholic Church could be considered one of the first major NGOs, as it organized large scale charity efforts over a thousand years ago.
 ah but the problem?

 Several decades ago, the main thing these outsiders brought with them was food and medical care. The people on the receiving end were pretty desperate, and grateful for the help. But NGOs have branched out into development and social programs.
These new activities caused unexpected problems with the local leadership. Development programs disrupt the existing economic, and political, relations. This is especially the case if the NGOs try to change the way things are done. The local leaders are often not happy with this, as the NGOs are not always willing to work closely with the existing power structure. While the local worthies may be exploitative, and even corrupt, they are local, and they do know more about popular attitudes and ideals than the foreigners
so although one sees a lot of criticism of churches that push religion with aid, a lot of NGO's push western ideas with aid instead.

. NGOs are no longer seen as just charitable foreigners come to help. The local leadership often sees the NGOs as a potential threat. While the material aid the NGOs bring is appreciated, the different ideas are not. And there are more NGOs showing up with more agenda than physical aid

Pushing birth control as part of the agenda is a big thing: I had to laugh when the flooding in Manila left many taking shelter in schools, and the UN came and gave out condoms...the locals were insulted, because it implied our women were sex crazed and couldn't refrain themselves. Then the UN defended this by saying it was because of rape, which locals got even more upset, since it implied Filipino men were sexually crazed rapists.

of course, if the aid is given to local politicians etc. a lot of it ends up in their pockets.

Yet paying huge salaries to western aid workers increases the overhead cost too.

 Often more than a third of it disappears into the pockets of government officials, their kin and friends. But letting the donors, and NGOs (Non-governmental organizations, like the Red Cross), handle the money also sees about the same portion lost. (italics mine)

This is because these donations often come with requirements that much of the money be spent on goods and services from the donor nation. This particularly bothers the locals as it means a lot of highly (especially by local standards) paid Western aid workers are supervising whatever is done in in the aid receiving nation. The higher NGO pay standards are very visible because the Westerners tend to live much better than locals.

StrategyPage is observing, not criticizing. Without the NGO's and church charities, the place would be worse, especially in times of disaster.

Crossposted from my main blog

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Africa update

Mugabe is throwing out the last of his "white" farmers.
Well, they stole the land fair and square so expect them to yelp.

But the rest of the Africa headlines are furthur north, where the war on terror is brewing a religious war (actually a war between the farmers and those who herd cattle).

And now, Ebola.
 
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