Bill Gates Foundation and Africa

Bill Gates is leading a charge to help create a sustainable "green revolution" in Africa. Washington Post story There was a time in the 80s when it seemed lots of African-Americans idealized life in Africa, and rightly so they were beginning to get opportunities to discover their ancestory, but then the truth about AIDS, tribal war, ethnic cleansing came down and that wish-dream peaceful villages where chiefs lead and people live in harmony was shattered. But in the seven years we lived in Uganda, we saw glimpses of community and learned that Ugandans know more about life in small communities than we did, and I carry these lessons with me forever.

Here are two of those lessons:

1. Children need to work. They are a vital part of the home economy and as such they are valued and feel valued. Message for Americans: stop running kids around to sports for a season and let them work in the home, a cottage industry, regular chores.

2. We are, therefore I am. Much like biblical worldviews, in Africa there is some family determinism going on, but aside from that there is a beautiful way that people still think about their identity as it is tied up in their ancestory. Message for Americans: we're going to have to work at thinking communally, but our lives will be richer for the effort. C.S. Lewis's hell in The Great Divorce depicts people seeking to get more distance from each other and heaven as a place where people seek out more intimacy.