Tag Archive for 'corrupt'

More Than Just the Same Name

Each morning when Andre, Kevin, Kevin, and I drive to the American School together from Bastos (district of Cameroon), we seem to have a similar recurring conversation: why is Africa in the state it is?  But first, what is Africa?

Typical conversations focus on the negatives as both Kevin and Andre are frustrated with privileged students at the American School of Yaounde who feel they are entitled.  Corruption in the country is rampant, well at least more obvious than in the United States. Allow me to give an example:  There is ongoing construction to build another building next to our apartment in Bastos.  During the week, there is little activity, but once Friday evening rolls around, suddenly a concrete mixer and 30 workers show up.  They “work” through the night, pouring concrete about half the time, drinking and yelling the other half.  It’s loud, and it’s literally right outside our windows. What to do?  Typically in the U.S. you would call the police and they would show up and hand out noise violations.  Unfortunately the police are useless here, often taking bribes (I’ve only seen one police car here the whole time anyway).  So whoever is running the construction operation has most likely paid off the police for the noise reason and for the fact that he probably doesn’t have a permit to be working on the weekends (why wouldn’t he work during the week?).

Public school in Maboye, Cameroon

Anyway, our theories about the existence of entitled students and corrupt business practices usually finds its way toward culture and education, both of which seem to go hand in hand.  Among world culture, I have found it commonplace to always complain about problems but never to do anything to solve them, i.e. Monday morning quarterbacks in the U.S.  Kevin the school counselor, and Andre the teacher have taken a different approaches.

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