A Letter From A Girl In Tanzania

Tanzanian girl

“Come and boost your résumé.”

To all the students about to volunteer in my country Tanzania and other African countries this summer, I just wanted to say a few words and to thank you for coming over to help us ‘poor downtrodden Africans’ even though we didn’t ask for your help.

I do hope this year’s crop of talented individuals can actually do something useful. Last year’s lot was, shall we say, displeasing.

Take for instance Claire Montford, studying Philosophy and Modern Languages at Jesus College, Oxford. She was particularly good at explaining the works of Wittgenstein and Kant but her bricklaying skills were to put it bluntly, really, really shitty. My grandmother rebuilt that wall when Claire went back to college by the way.

And then there’s Jason Williams, studying Microeconomic Theory at Harvard Business School. He was especially crap at tending to wounds when things got tough but he provided excellent insight into the current EU financial situation.

I have a crazy idea but why don’t you people send a trained builder and a qualified doctor next time? Duh!

If you really want to help, combine your Oxbridge and Ivy League brain power and invent a time machine. You know, just like the H.G. Wells one. Get in it and go back to the beginning of the 15th century and stop the colonization and enslavement of Africa.

If that’s beyond your capacities then why not encourage your governments and corporations to stop using our land to feed your people while we go starving? Either of these things would be most helpful.

I also want to shout out to some of the students who came a couple of years ago.

Well done to Janet Markham who’s now running a successful fashion company based around designs that look rather similar to our local fabrics, and to Fred Handmore aka DJ Handlebar who’s now head of his own music production company and record label specializing in dance music that bears a striking similarity to the music of my region. Things seem to be going well for both of you. Before you ask how I know all this, I Googled it. Yes, we do have computers here.

I would love to come over and see your countries one day but it’s really tough to get an entry visa to Europe or the US if you’re from my part of the world. Anyway, I look forward to meeting you all despite your inadequacies.

All the best