What did I do today that did anything to help humanity? Absolute Jack Shite. I bought some stuff at the local hardware, spurned the economy onwards, used electricity for the heater and drank the last of my tradeaid tea.
If you read the books, it wouldn’t be a surprise, and what did we expect? He’s not superhero, humans have flaws, I certainly do, just ask the NZ Tax dept. I will still support him and CAI although clearly some changes are needed and they have no option now.
To be clear, I’ve read widely, watched the video, read the books, and read the response from Mr K in detail and watched dozens of clips over the past few months on CAI et al.
I trained and lead the data team that developed the data capture systems for vertical structures (all the buildings made by donors inc hospitals and schools) throughout Afghanistan from Kabul, although I haven’t inspected any of the schools in question, I went to others.
What gives me the right to comment?
I bought the book, then the other book, then the kids book and finally a calender for work and for home. Do I regret it? Not at all, not one bit, although that was two months ago and not sure I’ve cleared it off the credit card. I have a financial interest at saving face.
I bought the books just before and during Christmas, found them extremely motivating - along with Michael Palin and James Herriot harmless obsessions.
If I had some cash to spare, I’d also buy a further dozen copies today of the kids books to put in the school library particular the colourful edition.
I really like this commentary from a fellow Wellingtonian:
In my country we get well-schooled in the dangers of getting ‘too big for our own boots’. We call it the ‘tall-poppy syndrome’: the risk that any flower who stands above the rest will be lopped off.
All is not forgiven and things have to change
I’ve been thinking about this and there are a few points I suspect I was already aware of through Mr Mortensons own admission in his books and writings.
1. CAI essentially and probably still is a one man band, obviously that needs to change.
2. Financial reporting is not transparent and as a result of the extreme publicity they have no choice but to make that transparent, and ideally all online. CAI sort it out, immediately, independently, beware the govt could probably take it over if nothing changed. Need help? Call me.
3. Who knows what axe Mr Krakauer is grinding, but I question his motives, what benefit is driving this, jealousy, loss of his money etc, I will be watching carefully over the coming months as I’d like to understand this “motivation” aspect, and of course he has his own NGO to support. Funding Rivalry?
4. As with all NGO’s “Monitoring & Evaluation” need to be built into all programs from the beginning.
5. Many comments I’ve read are by people with no idea of the “fluidity” of things on the ground, and Kumar Province? Wholy crap man, if you were wondering where Hell on Earth is Kunar, Ghazni, Wardak, take your pick. Taliban rule, girls dont go to school, period. Remember what stones are used for in those provinces? Not to build schools thats for sure.
6. So what if he repeats himself, far out the same stories 160 times per year and over perhaps five years of it? wholly crap, I would be so sick of it. At times in my job as a Project Manager I have to repeat the same “plan of action” perhaps 5+ times and I really dont like being a broken record. Ask my kids for verification of that.
7. When you are using other peoples money you must be transparent. I’d like to see some details of the actual areas money is spent and received, Directors are allowed and need to be paid a reasonable salary, if Mr M’s personal wealth is millions then I would be unhappy about that. This ambiguity of book promotions, sales, best seller lists, and chartered flights has to stop immediately.
60 Minutes Poor - Show old man.
This is a witch hunt, and 60Minutes is pulling a tabloid bullshit routine that I hope comes back to bite them in the bloody arse. Yes I can swear on my blog. I’m not at work and thats how we spell things in NZ. Reminds me of Michael Moore that scene where he comes up to the desk. If you cant find the mockumentary on Youtube, email me and I’ll put it on dropbox for selected folks.
60Minutes approach was biased, amateurish, destructive and didn’t need to be reported in the manner it was, he’s no fraud, but he does need help and sadly now will have to make those changes whether he likes it or not.
What I want now is a long and detailed video from Mr Mortenson, from the CAI board of directors, addressing the questions raised, clarifying the bad reporting and some real transparency and honesty.
And please get on with it, I am looking forward to buying my 2012 Ikat calender.
Its interesting having a topic now and then that I can form an opinion on, even thought those thoughts above are messy as.
And thanks Tumblr. I really like this site.