The Pretense Of “Thinking Globally”

The Pretense Of “Thinking Globally”
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The Pretense Of “Thinking Globally”

Ernesto Sirolli began his career working for an Italian non-profit organization aiding countries in Africa. In his TED talk, “Want to Help Someone? Shut Up and Listen!” he describes his first project teaching Zambians how to grow food:

We arrived there with Italian seeds in southern Zambia in this absolutely magnificent valley going down to the Zambezi River, and we taught the local people how to grow Italian tomatoes and zucchini … And of course the local people had absolutely no interest in doing that, so we paid them to come and work, and sometimes they would show up. And we were amazed that the local people, in such a fertile valley, would not have any agriculture. But instead of asking them how come they were not growing anything, we simply said, “Thank God we’re here. Just in the nick of time to save the Zambian people from starvation.”

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And of course, everything in Africa grew beautifully. We had these magnificent tomatoes … And we could not believe, and we were telling the Zambians, “Look how easy agriculture is.” When the tomatoes were nice and ripe and red, overnight, some 200 hippos came out from the river and they ate everything.