I started reading Paul Theroux’s Dark Star Safari back before we went to Belize; in other words, it’s been at least four months since I started it, but I have now reached the end. I think the reason why it took me so long (and why I was able to read so many other novels in between) is that it’s a difficult travelogue to process. In the pages of his book I learned of all sorts of suffering, as one might expect in an African journey, but I think I learned several far darker things.
Largely the unfortunate bits centered around the attitude of the indigenous citizens of Africa, and their response towards aide … and even worse in the sheer futility and joke that aide turns out to be. The amount of corruption in the government, and worse in the idea of foreign aide in general makes me hesitant to ever consider a donation to the Afircan continent in any form. The worst bit is, it’s not even the Africans that are to blame, but the aide organizations themselves that are so corrupt and self-serving, which when combined with the political and personal scheming in Africa makes for a certain disaster, two times over.
I have a hard time saying anything concrete about this book, but I think it’s an excellent introductory perspective on the African “problem.” Unfortunately, I come out of it with the opinion that such a problem has no solution, which is a bit sad. I learned quickly from his writing that Theroux is a gifted writer, showing brutal honesty and an ability to communicate a mass of emotion to his readers. Even if this particular topic doesn’t interest you, I can only provide a recommendation for potential readers to try one of his books. 9/10.
And now, I will allow myself to start Harry Potter, year 6.