So on my way home from a very loooong day at the office today I was accosted. It was a form of street harassment that I am loath to compare to what we typically compare to street harassment which is typically gross guys oggling loudly at uninterested walking by and about their business.
Ok ok. I am being quite dramatic. I smiled and greeted a young lady who was in a group of about 4 people loosely disbursed sans clipboards just outside the entrance to the metro. As tired as I was, today was that Friday early evening except today is Thursday and no work tomorrow so I was feeling even friendlier. I’d caught a very strong second wind that sustained me even when the office had definitely emptied out (motion sensored lights coming on from me walking past type empty).
It’s like those Israeli dead sea stands in the mall with the nail buffers. The key is not to make eye contact because THE moment you even so much as move your eyeball in their direction they have you.
Cut a long story short, I stood there and was chatted up by a Rwandan young lady who had a US fag bandana tied around her head telling me all the lines I know because I worked at another popular international NGO doing that same EXACT job. She was with a different one, but I knew the script. Once out there on the streets, there is the same goal and unfortunately no matter how much I disagree with fundamental parts of what has traditionally been development work, the needs addressed and used to convince/recruit donors are REAL. Gender DOES affect the socioeconomic development of individuals. Women DO invest more directly into their families than men do in poor communities…yadi yada yada I really could go on,
Without getting into too much details, this young lady was HIGHLY amusing. At first I was annoyed with myself for having stopped because these encounters happen entirely too much in DC, but she was such a character I’m almost sure I was there for about 30 minutes. I said a few things here and there, but her personality and chatting carried both of us through to me finally deciding to sponsor a child because I knew I was not leaving otherwise. She was so passionate in such an amusing way. A lot of “like” and a weird/awkward part when I asked to be shown the children I could choose from (gosh I feel so weird even saying that). I’d already made my bias towards all things African clear so I preferred an African child. Would you believe they were all out?! Like OMG?
Jokes aside, it’s kind of a big deal for an NGO that specializes in eradicating child poverty around the world to NOT have African children. What other continent’s child do you know to garner the kind of dramatic sympathy that opens wallets and gets donations made?! What was eve more amusing to see was this young African lady, and eventually 2 more African ones, join in in convincing me how reaaaally cute the Brazilian child they’d sponsored was. I believe it, but it was entertaining none the less. She even reached a point where she exclaimed repeatedly that “where are my African babies…I love my African babies…we need to get more African babies”
So yeah that’s it for today, an NGO that focuses mostly on child poverty that doesn’t have African babies?! Clearly this is something that needs to be remedied.
I did become a sponsor for a little girl in Guatemala. Can’t wait to get letters from her and get our cultural exchange on. If I can influence the life of a young girl and her mother in whatever way I am more than glad and humbled to do so.
p.s. I wrote on African babies before too HERE — http://afropolitaine.blogspot.com/2012/12/stealing-souls-of-babies.html
(though, typed, published…don’t mind any typos)