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Freetown,
Sierra Leone.
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EDITORIALS  

Thanking Guinea for the Rice Gift is Better
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Sep 22, 2011, 17:12
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Our elders often say that a gift from anyone, whether from an institution or from a government must always be appreciated. If you can not say thank you to the giver, it is advisable and far better if you do not say anything that could negates the essence of the gift.

 

Sierra Leoneans are noted for their generosity and appreciation to everyone especially strangers. The love that Sierra Leone has for foreigners is second to none. 

 

That is why this newspaper is taken aback when people in different quarters are lashing here and there for the rice gift Sierra Leone got from neighbouring Guinea.


Since the donation of the 2000 metric tons of rice to Sierra Leone from the Guinean government many Sierra Leoneans and Guineans alike have described this gesture as suspicious and politically motivated. Lets not forget that giving and taking is part of life and is something divine. Detractors are alleging that Sierra Leone is running out of rice and the high cost of this precious commodity here is the reason behind this gift.

 

What a ridiculous statement? The enemies of Sierra Leone are also alleging that this reason has forced the government to secretly asked the Guinea government for help. No reasonable being will fall for this tale. Just take a look around our market stalls in the country and judge for yourself.  The Awareness Times has no qualms over this rice gift because we believe the gift is a gesture from our neighbours. It does not mean the giver is richer than the receiver or vice versa. Gifts among brothers, sisters and friends are a necessity.

 

That is why we are offering our thanks and appreciation to the Guinea government as this gift has not only strengthened the bilateral relations between the two countries, the gesture will also lessen the burden on our poverty stricken people.

 

Though Sierra Leone is not self sufficient in rice production, it does not mean we are so poor and over reliant on outside donors to feed us. At least the government is trying hard in the Agricultural sector at the moment. However, there is still more room for improvement in the areas of self sufficiency in food. We agree!


In the first United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) that was adopted by world leaders in September 2000, the international community made a commitment to reducing hunger by half by 2015. Today, 11 years after this lofty proclamation, we are not there yet, but we are getting closer to achieving it. The number of undernourished people in Sierra Leone exceeded three million in 2010, but that statistics has reduced drastically now. We agree!

 

Many experts point to the 2006-2008 food crises as the catalyst for the rise of hunger and poverty. Certainly, low household incomes, rising unemployment and higher food prices are contributory factors to this plight. It is unacceptable that majority of people in Sierra Leon live under one US dollar a day!


That is why this newspaper is feeling disturbed that the rice gift from Guinea has been debated with anger and disgust, with total disregard to the millions of Sierra Leoneans who are benefiting from the gift.

 

We observed that many of the detractors are those Sierra Leoneans who are capable of getting bags of rice without scratching their heads. Donation or no donation, these detractors can afford to buy rice. But what about the majority of their fellow Sierra Leoneans who only depend on cups of rice a day? Can we forget them just because they are poor? No way. This types of gift can help them big time! Isnt it?


Lets remember that Sierra Leone too has over the years made countless donations in cash and kind to other nations despite the economic hardships we are facing. Ask Guinea and other nations, they will confirm about Sierra Leones generosity before. That is why we are trying to educate our fellow Sierra Leoneans to stop this rumour mongering and try to appreciate what others are doing to ease the sufferings of others.

 

Remember, that we should be our brothers keepers. Looking a gift horse too much in the mouth is not good!


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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