It was a simple restaurant visit. I had just returned from Kinshasa, and my fridge was empty so I decided to head to a restaurant to have a dinner. An order of pepper steak and French fries followed with some ice cream for dessert would do. The lady brings the fork and knife wrapped in a tissue. A very normal approach when it comes to getting ready for the meal. I unwrap the utensils, to find out that the tissue used has the UN emblem on it. How nice, the UN is providing tissues to help wipe out the tears in the world. The issue to me is not how the tissues reached a restaurant, a commercial entity, as I consider the UN to be a commercial entity itself. In some African countries, everything is for sale, including humanitarian aid stocks. Whether it was food, medication, or other things that are clearly marked “NOT FOR SALE”, it is hard to convince the profiteers not to sell the items to people who don’t know how to read. Unfortunately, law enforcement institutes and government agencies who are supposed to be monitoring those issues are sometimes involved in these schemes. So what about the tissues? Are they marketing “give away items” to grow some publicity for the UN? Or are they for the use of the UN personnel? Or maybe they are indeed for wiping out tears? Although they are so harsh on the hands and I really doubt they could be used on human faces. Couldn’t the smart decision maker decide to buy local tissues instead and hence help the local economy? Or maybe invest the sum in facilitating a small workshop task hence providing food for a whole family and even a tribe? Or maybe help a small farmer? Or is it, we want you to fight, we want you to struggle, we want you to cry, so we can bring our tissues to scratch your faces and leave our UN “logo” so you would remember that we are always here for you?
I have no answer, do you?