|By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 8:29 am: Edit Post|
Peace Corps Volunteers in Botswana meet President Bush
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|By William T. Cote on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 11:08 pm: Edit Post|
President bush may be interested to know that the culture of the Bushmen, or Kalahari Red People, as they prefer, is being wiped out by a misguided policy of the government of Botswana.
This policy appears to be good hearted and in essence suggests that "we are not the various tribes of Botswana, but instead all Botswana nationals". This policy works well for those in the dominant tribes, which comprise perhaps 90% of the population, but for the Bushmen, who are an underclass and severly segregated and at large abused by the local tribes, it represents a policy of non support direcly and for international donor agencies that wish to help the Bushmen retain their heritage and identity with pride.
The initiatives of these agencies is typically, these days, NOT interested in preserving the culture to the extent that the people live in a traditional poverty for the benefit of overweight, ignorant tourist photo-ops. They are focused on carrying the best of a heritage forward with dignity. There are aspects of this culture, as from all indigenous peoples, that need to be understood and retained for the betterment of our race of Mankind.
An example I found for this "golden thread" from the heritage of the Bushmen is their understanding of traditional medicine to be derived from the plants and animals of their region.
Since their languages are largely uncodified, with the only exception that I am aware being the Bushmen around Ghanzi in Western Botswana, where missionaries have taken on this task, the traditions are lost as generation passes. Children are not taught the language of their heritage, or the medicines or the thought and beliefs that we might consider a religion, which have evolved over several thousand years and passed by word of mouth, in stories and in song. These are great losses indeed to our race of mankind. But it is not self interest for our world community that I write.
The solution is to allow pride in heritage and self, and to support the Bushmen as a national treasure. Fund and host workshops to share culture and create discussions. Not wood carving and basketry. These are curiosities of The West that have become a sustainance of these people, but have nothing to do with their heritage as migratory clans. Take a look at the best of what has been provided for indigenous peoples of the US and elsewhere in the world and cherry pick the best of. Do not prohibit them from expressing their identity and heritage with pride.
I lived with the Bushmen in the eastern Kalahari for 26 months and witnessed for example boiled roots that cured dysentery in young goats in a couple days. They are an amazing people who now will not teach their language to their children for fear that the child will be mocked. Culture is lost without the language. Thousands of years of pride and peace will be lost within the next 20 years unless we are able to open the hearts and minds of the elderly and create a faith that their children have not a right, but a responsibility to carry forward an understanding very different from the locally dominant Bantu tribes and that of the West and Northern hemisphere. It is indeed their responsibility to learn so that they may teach and share and be supported in these efforts by a government policy that acknowledges their value as a people and together creates a possibility of creating value for them within this understanding.
|By Anonymous (184.108.40.206) on Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - 1:05 am: Edit Post|
hope you guys are having a nice time volunteering with the truobled people.I am tonny all the way from kampala(u) in east africa and i love giving such services and thats what i want to dedicate all my future doing.
Could you please help me fulfil this dream because i really want to volunteer with you guy and i think a reply is honest.