Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's a Mess

Saturday nights always filled me with a little bit of dread when I was a girl. Don't get me wrong, I always looked forward to the tradition of going out to eat, usually at the Dutch hot spot, Russ', and I loved having my Grandma and Grandpa come over afterward for coffee and dessert. BUT...there was always a pit in my stomach because I KNEW Grandma would come casually strolling down the hallway to take a peek into my room. I like to think that my room was "cosy", but my mom claims she could see my bed FLOATING on piles of clothes, books, toys, and precious treasures. It didn't help that my sister Kristin kept her room in a perpetual state of perfection. How is one supposed to measure up?!

Grandma at Carly's wedding. She's beautiful!

Grandma would open the door and *GASP*, "Krara, I have never seen a mess like this in all of my life! How do you even get it like this, I can't understand." Her incredulous look still is with's good though, it makes me keep my house clean now! Of course she couldn't understand, she's second generation Dutch, to these people cleaning is FUN, a way to relax. Those genes definetely were recessive by the time they got to me. Then Grandma would report to mom, mom would report to dad, and soon I'd have a whole host of adults peering into my room emitting gasps of horror and disbelief as they stared at my cosy piles of treasures. Then I was doomed...the rest of the night was spent cleaning. Grandma would help me for the fun of it. Didn't she have to work on the blanket she was crocheting? Apparently not, my room presented a greater thrill. I think this happened nearly every Saturday (no, I didn't seem to learn my lesson) until I was 14 or so. At that point I think the shock was wearing off, there was no surprise waiting for them when they'd open my door, because it was always the same, VERY COSY.

I'd like to think I'm wiser as I grow older. And yes, my house is clean now, and no, I don't like the COSY style so much anymore.

On a small scale it reminds me of Cambodia.
It's a mess out here. Actually, humanity is a mess. Not without hope, but a mess all the same. NGO's (non-government organizations) are everywhere here, picking up the mess and putting it away for the day just to turn around and find everything is all out of place again.

The UN has a strong presence here. Many women and children's organizations are here too. And while I'm sure they do offer help, most of the time they just put band-aids on the problem or offer a temorary reprieve. The BBC issued a report saying that women and children are facing an increasing risk of rape and sexual assault and that around a quarter of the female population faces domestic violence. What are the NGO's accomplishing? Why are millions of dollars poured into efforts and and little seems to change? There is no lack of international aid to Cambodia. If the West is giving it the best help it can, why isn't it creating change?



kelly anne said...

Kara, funny story, and well-written. I think you make an important point. I remember feeling the very same frustration in Haiti. "What miracle is it going to take to fix this country?" It's easy to get depressed, thinking that all of the band-aids in the world aren't going to help. But, try to think on a smaller scale. Have you heard the starfish story? I'm sure you have: "It made a difference to that one." The brokenness of humanity is visible on the outside in places like Cambodia and Haiti, but rest assured that North Americans are just as broken on the inside.
You're doing good work. I think change can start small and work its way up. Hope you are well...miss you!

Kara said...

Hi Kelly! Thanks for visiting. It's not so much that I'm giving up on the whole idea of aid, but rather, go back to the drawing board and figure out a better way to do this. Give responsibly, follow the dollars that are given and make sure they are used appropriately...create a system of incentives for governments. Now you've got me started :).