An Interesting Comparison…

8 12 2008

I was watching Long Way Down with Euan McGregor and Charlie Boorman last night for the first time. They had reached central Africa on their second journey and it was an interesting watch as they visited Ugandan rehab camps for child soldiers. It was though the visit they made to the war-torn country of Rwanda that was of more interest though. I will admit that other than knowing of the genocide, I knew little of the state of affairs of Rwanda over the course of the past half a century. The impression from the programme was that Rwanda was recovering very well after such a tragic happening (put into context by another stat I heard this weekend: there was more killed in Rwanda than there were British deaths in the First World War). People were cheerful and looking forward (this despite accusations of War Crimes in direction to their president) and the nature of the country was that it was hard to imagine such acts (albeit the presentation in the programme demonstrated it as such).

More noteworthy though was the attitude towards education. The children wanted to learn, to get educated and to give themselves the best possible start. My experience of Africa is similar, as children and adults alike are keen to learn a much as they can. It was my mum though that made a good point, comparing such desire for education in Africa to the apparent lack of interest in children of Britain at the moment.

Whilst it is too easy to suggest that more kids don’t care about education than do, it is not a stretch, I feel, to suggest that there is nowhere near the same fervour for education amongst those in Britain.

It is examples such as these which makes me think that we can become too easily forgetful of what we have in Britain. We are lucky to be able to get an education, to build our lives, and not be fearful of war of genocide tearing apart our society. Watching programmes such as these serves to help us remember our own situation and appreciate how fortunate we are.

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