15 October 2008

Blog Action Day: Go Visit AfriGadget.com

Even with advance notice, I struggled with what to write for Blog Action Day. I mean, I'm pretty good at blathering on about my favorite TV show or whining about my home life. If I tried to write a post on an important topic like poverty, I'm afraid that it would turn out like something my 10-year-old son DJ would write. "Poverty is bad. We should help poor people." So I've decided to do what I do best and point you to one of my favorite websites.

AfriGadget is, in their own words, "a website dedicated to showcasing African ingenuity". The bloggers over there show the creativity that poverty-stricken people are using to improve their lot in life. Some of the projects highlighted on the site:

--a hut in Kenya that used empty food bags as part of the construction
--people in crowded slums growing vegetables in plastic bags
--a group in Sierra Leone learning to make biodiesel from pine nuts.

Not all of the stories are about practicality or self-sufficiency. AfriGadget also features stories about how Africans make their own fun. There are many articles about art projects that use found materials and videographers creating their own equipment.

Reading a site like AfriGadget does two things. First, it makes me want to give to a site like Kiva to help these ingenious people along. Second, it cuts short any pity party that I may have been having. In this time of economic crisis, I think that we would all do well to remember that there are people in worse situations that are still holding their heads high. Yes, there are people whose houses are in foreclosure who can't pull another penny from anywhere. However, many of us are feeling the pinch in ways that we can manage with a little creativity.
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