What do you do? That question is proposed to me mostly by people from western snit. It tends to be part of a line of questioning, going like what do you do?, what do people say about you?, what do you have?. Answers to these questions supposedly lead towards the assessment and subsequently guides the measure of commitment of association. Thus challenged, I diligently write reports - both formal and informal - answering that question for many audiences. And still I will have to write many others, as the hunger for answers to this question is huge. Hence twitter.
Fortunately, I am privileged to sit in a hotel room in Cape Town, taking time off while my wife Janneke attends high level HIV-related conferences in this remarkable city. Intentionally I take time to reflect on what do I do?. I can state that I wander rural African lands, champion the poor, provoke people, and implicitly and explicitly call the international community to account, however, upon reflection all this vanishes in view of the question who are you?
I am grateful for being in Africa, where the question who are you? is the most important question and main course of every interpersonal interaction. The answer thus fuels collaboration and inspiration and guides groups of rag-tag and seasoned visionaries, dreamers, and hands-on load-carriers to implement its consequences into every day living. And as such fuels thedoing.
Well, who am I? The answer needs study, interaction, and, of course, is multi dimensional and to be discovered daily. However, it incorporates aspects of 'a broken person, crushed by, seeing the consequences of death through AIDS and other poverty related deceases, the profound pain and struggles during the uphill battle for sustainable progress by the poor, and, the many other extreme challenges that disempowered communities of this world face'. Also it contains 'a person, inspired by vision for empowerment of those in disease ridden communities, awed by the magnificence and strength of the poor, and, who has chosen to believe to be able to be together and seize opportunities that our amazing world provides to build bridges between cultures and circumstance over which we can interact and support one another'.
So, what do I do? Aiming to build relationships and communities, trying to conquer the challenges of relating. In that programs, platforms, projects and meetings are instrumental only, part of the arsenal of means to. I seek solutions and innovations that are more complex and less rationalistic than mainstream Western worldview seemingly dictates.
All in all, let us BE before we DO.