Wednesday, October 14

A Year (or Two) in Kenay: Further thoughts on bribes

It occurs to me that I forgot to mention something important in my earlier post on bribes. I would like to take this chance now to mention it because I find it unlikely anyone would realize this from the rather aggressive tone in took in that piece.

I don't think the people taking bribes are necessarily evil or bad in anyway. Yes, I am frustrated with and angry at them. When the request for the second bribe came in, politely described as fees necessary to cover the team's lunch and transportation and an allowance because they had to leave work for the afternoon to visit the center and make the recommendation, I had to take breaks by myself to avoid punching the contact straight in his lying mouth. But, if you put my back against the wall, I think the Children's Office and all of its members, both official and unofficial, with a finger in the pie want us to be a registered children's home, if for no other reason than that they would then have to figure out what to do with the hundred-odd children who suddenly found themselves without regular meals or beds if we were closed.

The problem is that they just see no problem in taking a little something for themselves while they're ensuring the children are cared for. After all, I am doing something good by protecting children whose parents abandoned or couldn't support them. Don't I deserve a little more for my good work? And it's not really taking anything away from the children when these wazungu run the center. They always have plenty of money. I assume those are the thoughts that allow the contact to keep a straight face when he says they need another 10,000 shillings. Because otherwise he and allow those he represents are just evil and are totally willing to take the food from children's mouths to buy themselves a new jacket.

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