There has been reports recently that some African countries have responded very positively to Haiti’s devastation. DR Congo has pledged to give $2.5 million, while Senegal has pledged to help settle Haitians who would be willing to relocate to the African country.
Some, including a professor at the University of Kinshasa have condemned Congo’s gesture dismissing it as a political ploy. For some it is difficult to understand how a poor country like Congo should afford to spend so much on Haiti.
However, I find the act of Congo and Senegal to be significant for a number of reasons. First, it is Paul who attributed the following words to Jesus Christ, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” By extending a hand to give to the earthquake devastated Haiti, these African countries practice this important principle. Giving is very important, and poverty should not be the reason why one should not give. Pope John Paul and Mother Theresa are attributed to have said that there is no one who is so rich as to not receive anything, and there is no one so poor as not to give anything. Regardless of how poor we are as a people, we are not exempt from giving to others who are in need or who are faced with serious disasters. Instead of condemning what Congo DR has done, all 52 African nations should put their resources together and pledge to help their kith and kin in Haiti. The principle of giving is that one should give according to his ability. And even in poverty someone should still be able to give. Jesus looked at the gift of the poor widow with lots of admiration because out of her poverty she still found it important to give. Giving is a key to Africa’s prosperity, and instead of building mansions in Paris and Switzerland these African leaders should be finding opportunities to give to the poor both in their countries and in places like Haiti.
Secondly, Senegal’s action is a lesson in hospitality. Africans are hospitable people. And while it may be very difficult for western countries to open up their doors to all Haitians, Africa as a beacon of hospitality should open her land for the return of her people. Abdulaye Wade wants to even create an entire region specifically for Haitians, I really do not see how this can work, but suffice to say that it is important to assimilate the returning Haitians into Senegalese society. Senegal is showing a great example of hospitality by opening its doors.
The Haiti devastation is a very painful experience, but with the world helping out, it would be easier for Haitians to face the challenge. However, the world does not just mean England and America, but Africa as well. Well done DR Congo, and the rest of Africa should do more!