Monday, September 27, 2010

Not to get all academic, but I just had class and we had discussion which I was, of course, to afraid to speak during and I am going to go talk to my professor because it is just something I should do more and because I actually have things to say. But I need to organize them and however stupid it is to use a blog to organize thoughts, it is what I am choosing to do.

What is conditionality and is it morally acceptable?
The concept of conditionality is fairly simple, in principle: the giving of aid based on policy changes: giving aid and then making rules about how it should be used. In theory, I suppose that is moral enough, as was brought up in class when someone gives you money, they usually have rules about how you should use it, and it being their money, that seems relatively reasonable.
However, Africa is so fucking complicated, so unfairly so. The first problem being that "we" (who is we, is always a fair questions, I mean western cultures and political units, I mean the democratized/capitalist world) are partly responsible for Africa being in the position in which it needs money in the first place. So we reap the continent of many of it's resources, we take over and completely muddle with the systems of government and economics that are established there (now whether or not these systems were good, "moral" systems is besides the point), which really messes up everything and then we act as though we are being oh-so-generous to give money? So perhaps under normal circumstances it would be fair enough to have conditionality but this is more like someone robbing you, then giving you a chunk of money but only if you promise to use it to buy what they think you should own.
Another problem is that when giving aid we are either giving it with full agenda to spread our idea of democracy, which seems a little questionable on the moral side or we are giving it with the intention to do what is best for everyone, but assuming that what we do is what is best for everyone. We are not in a position to decide what is best in African countries, being as we do not live there or have a particularly good understanding of what people want, need, etc. Perhaps part of the problem with aid is that we give the money to the wrong people, like the government's which are run by big-men who have only their own interests at heart and will use the money to increase their military, or to buy themselves an airplane or something. So perhaps the distribution of aid needs to be studied much more closely.
Now, democracy works for us ( well, that is obviously arguable, but we will just run under that assumption) but that doesn't mean that it works for all countries or that other systems don't work, and yet when aid is given, that is the assumption. As the western dominant world tries to get to create a global market and spread the idea of free trade etc, countries in Africa have trouble competing. People assume that this is because of some structural short-coming etc etc and decide to try that when we give aid we should encourage African countries to try to come up with ways to make their economy so that it can be incorporated into the global trades. But why? Perhaps someday, that will work, but it hasn't proven to work so well now, and why do we feel it needs to? Can't Africa just have a smaller scale economy for now and not be pushed into competing in the global market?
I am under no authority to dictate what Africans should and should not want, but in same way or another, just as we have been, they have been conditioned to want and strive for western material things and to try to make their economies work in such a way that they can have these western material things. While all of this technology is great in certain ways, it also has many downfalls, and we have too much idle time which means that we are often more unhappy, and as unfair as it may sound, perhaps Africa shouldn't want these things, but the areas that have the proper environments should take a page from the days of yore and survive off of food they grow and hunt. Now it's not fair for me to decide this, and I would never try to impose this idea but it is something that should be talked about, by everyone, just to remind us that it is an idea that exists. Perhaps aid being money is the problem, because money is also something that is very western, an idea that colonialism brought to Africa (of course there was currency and ways of trading things, but colonialism brought a whole new concept of money).

Oi vay, I could keep going, but I am making myself dizzy/exhausted and I am likely boring the crap out of you.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grandma and I have the nicest talk. Mostly we talk about how much we love things but also she checks to ensure that I know about safe sex, which is hilarious only because under normal grandma-granddaughter relationships this sort of talk should be awkward and it is not, at all. We end our conversation like this:

S "So, mostly I am just having a great time, and I am so happy here. And I am so excited about Kenya, but also it will be a little sad, because I'll miss everyone."
G "You were born happy, and you've just always been a happy sort a person. I was too."
S "Yeah, well being sad just isn't very much fun!"
G "Yeah, I am like that too. We were born happy, but some people are born sad and are sad all their lives. We were dealt good hands.
S "We were, I think the whole bunch of us was."

The whole conversation was us gushing, and it made me happy, happy to talk about being happy to remind me that I am, in fact, happy. I write this down, on here, because I need to remember it. Remember it for me, for her, and for a writing project I have been working on that I do not have time to do justice right now, a project about grandma and me.

I'm meeting new people and I want to tell them all about what is important to me and I want to learn about what is important to them, but sometimes people like to keep these things to themselves and I am learning this and learning to love what I don't know as much as what I do, and it is gushy and boring, I know, but I am mostly just learning to love things, always.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Frosted flakes have never tasted so good. I am losing track of time, of when things happened, finally, I am always counting, days, weeks, hours, and I'm starting not to. I am trying to find a gaudy way to describe Heather's thighs, and who is Heather? and maybe this is why I love writing about her because she is no one in particular. My creative writing teacher thinks I'm implying a sexual attraction to Heather in my poems, but in reality it is my projection of the sexual attraction boys feel towards her and my post-feminist thoughts keep being challenged and all during my women's health class I take mental notes to add to Heather's repertoire. I sound crazy, I don't curr.

Monday, September 20, 2010

last night Vianne and I tried to find the moon. She asked me to speak in Spanish and I felt inadequate when I couldn't.

Madison has swallowed me whole, just like every place I go does, and I am happy to be here, for now, for however long. Weird world, and everything is turning over, and it's surprising at first, always, until you remember that no matter how much things change they don't change at all, which is comforting but strangely disappointing too.

I live with my best pals and all we talk about all day is how much we love each other. lauren and I are ordering two large pizza's from domino's. she just said "so much pizza, so little time". we are going to take pictures of ourselves with the pizza, so we can be famous on domino's website. menage-et-cat, this is the god damned charmed lyfe if i ever saw it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

da charmed lyfe strikes again, hard n fast. lauren says this is my year. i think every year is our year, but she might be right. the season of smart wools and long underwear is fast approaching, I couldn't be more pleased. winter will be cut short by kenya, so I'm starting early. this could all be trouble, but also, it could not be.

Monday, September 13, 2010

beer and french fries and phone calls from cousins on secret rooftops with new people. the madison charmed lyfe is coming back and I am ready for it. sometimes the things you need just fall into your lap.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

i keep having nightmares, not scary like a horror movie but just silly dreams of my heart breaking again and again, i keep waking up to drunk people yelling outside my window, which doesn't bother me but perplexes me because during the school week i barely get the chance to sleep let alone throw back any brewskies, i keep worrying these strangers are driving drunk, i keep waking up parched but with a full bladder, i keep waking up and my blanket smells like someone else. things are slipping through my fingers but i've been trying to force them to slip down my pen onto paper instead. I've been writing crazy letters. I've been making myself sad, just so I can get over it faster and also so I can write more about Heather, my alter-ego and my favorite enemy. All of these people, and no one talk to, I keep folding in on myself, and then unfolding and then folding again, I might be getting weak at the seams. I am not a mess, but I am just not sure.

Friday, September 3, 2010

"loving, rapid, merciless-
breaks like the Atlantic ocean on my head."
-Robert Lowell

I am going to get acquainted with lots of new poets, finally, and I am excited and a little nervous but mostly just excited and hungry to learn and to argue and to make friends and to be busy all of the time and to write letters to people about how I am feeling and to snuggle with our cat.

Things I know about myself are that I am a sucker for poems or stories that talk about eating in terms of food metaphors and stomach aches, I am excited to write, I am going to try hard to write good things and not just quick things for class. I am going to put time into everything I do this semester, I am going to be deliberate on during the week and less deliberate on the weekends. I miss Milwaukee, I miss having friends around all of the time, so I am going out to reconnect with some acquaintances and to make some new friends because I love people and being around them and I am ready to make my own nest here, if I can.