Tuesday 24 March
By Rev Richard Frazer
Jared Diamond describes how the first western people to interact with the Papua New Guineans saw what they thought was very inefficient agriculture taking place. The locals planted their crops in tiny, irregular plots amongst trees in poorly irrigated soils. So, the newcomers made the plots larger and more regular, cleared some of the trees and introduced an irrigation system. On the first occasion that the monsoon rains came, entire areas were washed away. Diamond points out that in one year these westerner, technical farmers had destroyed one of the oldest agricultural systems in the world. It was an example of the imposition of technical "know how", without really listening.
Closer to home, let me tell you about Lisa. She was a remarkable young woman whom I got to know who had been homeless off and on since she was 14 and suffered from a range of disabilities that she was quite happy to list. Dyspraxia, dyslexia were two of them, but she had quite a few others besides that she would regularly reel off.
She very much reminded me of the man Jesus met in the land of the Gerasenes (Luke 8: 26 – 39). When Jesus asks this man his name, he replies with the description of his ailment. It wouldn't be the first time that people in poverty or distress have been defined by their problem rather than their personhood.
So often we offer solutions rather than solidarity and we see problems rather than people.
Long periods of drought plague Zimbabwe. We’re helping communities to build dams to survive.
Give 30p for each way you use water today.