generalizations

Reading back through my post from a few days ago, I realize I made some very sweeping generalizations about an entire continent based on two weeks’ experience in one small land block.  I apologize for this.  As some of you said, lack of “forward thinking” and fatalism are obviously not the same everywhere in Africa.

I also didn’t mean to imply that Western missions hasn’t done good things in Africa.  Indeed, many of the advances on the continent have come as a result of missions and missionaries.  And for me to make generalizations about the state of the church in Africa is also probably a little journalistically sloppy, as I haven’t personally surveyed a cross-section of the continent’s Christian communities.  My information simply comes from those who have lived or traveled in a number of African countries.  Even so, as a journalist, this is sloppy and I apologize.

Third, reading back through the reflection, I realize it implies that our time in Tanzania was mostly negative.  Allow me to put to rest that thought immediately.  We had an amazing time in a nation with so much heart … beauty … spirit … and with smiles so white and so wide.   That said, we were told that we got close to “the real Tanzania experience” — the waiting around, the transportation mishaps, the getting ripped off, the slightly less-than-the-West customer service.  For this we were thankful — not disappointed.  If these kinds of things make up a large part of the lives of those who live in Tanzania (and who are “mzungu,” like our friends), then we were glad we weren’t spared from that reality.  The reality may be different in other countries in Africa, though, and this is where my generalization got me in trouble.  So I’ll just keep it to what I observed in TZ.

Over the next few days, I hope to paint a few vignettes of our time in Africa, all of them extremely formative.  Thanks so much for your readership and your comments, even when we here at harvestboston.net are negative and unclear.  =)

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One response to this post.

  1. Steve,

    Thanks for both of your posts. What you experienced is genuine and should not be discounted. Thank you for sharing. Thank you also for taking a step back and reflecting on your words. I have a lot of respect for you and I look forward to reading your next few reflections.

    Reply

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