Tag Archive : Infrastructure

/ Infrastructure

Church – Dar es Salaam

What I have realised during my journey is how much religion and, in most countries, also tribes influence everything. Which religion you belong to, which tribe you are a part of influences you everyday life, what school you go to, which job you get, who you can do business with, who you marry, who you vote for.

If you belong to the majority religion and/or tribe you will be better off in many countries. This means it is not the best qualified who gets the job og gets elected, it might not even be the best qualified within your tribe – it all depends on connections and where you belong.

It is also well known that corruption is widespread. Some are trying to fight it, but it is difficult to get rid of and changes are slow.

On top of this people are ready to give all their money to the churches instead of paying for their children’s education, they are ready to pray instead or in addition of relying on doctors to cure diseases. Many people are poor, but they are still willing to give their last dime to their priest.

Kigali, Rwanda

I’ve seen many beautiful buildings while travelling but it is churches, schools and public buildings not peoples houses. Many houses are old, worn down and especially rural areas huts. Think about the amount of money the churches receive from people who could be spending them on improving their own lives.

Especially Pentecostal churches (in Danish ‘Pinsebevægelsen’) is growing in numbers, receiving enormous amounts of money from their followers. So, the priests get rich. Some of them have private jets, big mansions, expensive cars – some of them are con artists and people still donate money to them. People are convinced that god will take care of them if they keep praying and believe enough.

Supported by christian missionaries some priests preach people should get many children – even though they cannot support them or pay their education (education is not free in most countries). The churches are also against contraception and family planning – supported by donator countries like the US, who has a policy of not supporting organisations where abortion is included as a possibility when they are advising families.

This means HIV infected and the population is growing in number in countries where contraception’s are not promoted. The infrastructure, educational system and the labour market cannot keep up with the growth of the population – many young people gets a college degree but there are no jobs for them.  Unemployment rates are high amongst the youth, so many would of cause want to travel abroad to find a proper job. And climate changes are not doing anything good either. It seems like being so religious work against solving a lot of the problems here. The African countries have not been christian for a long time – only a few hundred years. I’m wondering if that’s the reason they are so conservative and extremely religious. And maybe their belief will loosen in the coming generations, I don’t know. The question is whether or not it will be in time for them to be able to solve the challenges they face, and where their belief stands in the way of the best solutions.

Big little things

2019-01-10 | Rwanda | 3 Comments

It’s when you lose access to everyday necessities you realize how privileged you are. In Denmark we have a functioning infrastructure – everybody has access to clean drinking water in their own home, just turn on the tap. We don’t risk electricity outages; our roads don’t get washed away due to rain. We don’t have earthquakes, volcano eruptions, monsoon rain, hurricanes or other natural disasters.

Imagine if you didn’t have a car and you had to collect clean water 1 kilometre from your home every day – you would have to walk or bike. Imagine if sometimes there was no electricity – if you had a refrigerator or freezer the food would go bad. Imagine if the rain washed away the road to your town – it had to be cleared before anyone could leave.

And what about money? – we are so used to use our credit cards, it takes 2 seconds to pay our groceries and we are out the door. Here almost no shops and only a few hotels accept credit cards. You need cash to pay for everything.

I have spent a lot of time looking for an ATM that would accept my credit cards. One day I had to transfer some money – it took forever. At the MoneyGram agent (like Western Union) I couldn’t use my credit card to pay for the transfer, and their ATM didn’t accept my credit card, so I had to find another bank to get the cash to pay for the transfer.

Another example – I had to pay deposit for my hotel in cash. For some reason none of the 8 (yes 8!) ATMs I visited accepted my visa or master card. In the end my mom (thanks mom) sent me money through Western Union. It took less than 10 minutes to get the cash.

Imagine the consequences for your everyday life and work – this is reality in some other countries. In Denmark everything would be more difficult, everything little thing would take so much longer.

I’m so grateful to live in a country were the vital infrastructure is in place. We need to appreciate the big little things that makes our daily lives so much easier.