10 February 2010

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Sudan

Juba has something of a shortage of affordable public transportation. This means that for many, hitchhiking around town is a pretty good alternative to relying on matatus or expensive boda-bodas ($2 a trip). You often see the back of an SPLA truck packed with a whole class of kids in their school uniform.

So giving lifts on my way to and from work seems like a natural way of paying back lifts received in the past, and building up some karma points. Except apparently the UN has guidelines against giving lifts, especially to kids, because of sexual abuses by peacekeepers in the past. And I was always told never to accept lifts from strangers. So am I then encouraging a habit which could ruin someone’s life?

What’s more important: the direct tangible benefit of aid, or the potential for future unintended consequences?

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