Skip to main content

A further thought on the camp

Thinking again about the camp I recently helped with I was struck by a couple things.  First was that overall it went off very well.  The kids got there on time, the food was sufficient and cooked on time, the activities went off more or less how they were planned—and most of all, the kids had a great time.  I'd say it was one of the best organized and best executed events I have attended here in South Africa.

The second thing is that the stress of the event nearly gave the volunteer organizing it ulcers.  The key thing I noticed here is that the actual logistics weren't the stressful bits.  It was the thankless, selfish, and petulant attitude evinced by a large fraction of the people involved with the camp.  Beforehand, people who agreed to help or contribute often went back on their word or didn't keep their promises.  A local politician who had agreed to organize transport reacted to inquires about said organization with disbelieving fury—only later did it come out that she had actually done nothing.  During the camp, on one occasion, younger volunteers stayed up all night and then begged off their activities the next day, claiming sickness.  As the camp was ending, there was a frenzy of people trying to score free stuff from the extras—we're still trying to track down the soccer balls.

All those things were relatively small and easy to deal with, but the cumulative psychological energy required to deal with all the petty bullshit was nearly overwhelming.  The easily waked sense of grievance and entitlement that one encounters here is a major reason I'm excited to go home.


Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha

Caffeine Is Not a Bioweapon

I got into a discussion with Yves Smith about caffeine here , and somehow my comment got eaten, so I'd like to finish it up here. She said about this Raw Story piece about a girl who allegedly died from drinking two Monster drinks in two days, "The FDA lapse here is terrible. Caffeine is extremely toxic. We just happen to get highly diluted doses in coffee and tea." I commented: Yves, your implication about caffeine is incorrect on several levels. Most Monster drinks have about 10 mg of caffeine per fluid ounce, which is much less than even drip coffee (18 mg/oz) and WAY less than espresso (51 mg/oz). ( Source ) The whole idea of dilution is misguided in any case. The relevant measurement for caffeine intoxication (and most poisoning generally) is the total amount taken, not the concentration. Concentration is something to worry about, as it can make a lethal dose easier to take on, but the main concern there is pure caffeine pills, not energy drinks which are mostl