A Nigerian friend was shocked. He shocked me too. This happened when he arrived in Canada. He found that there are no gates, guards and walls surrounding houses as in many Africa cities.
To this friend, gates, guards and high walls are the symbol of affluence!After understanding his problem, I decided to tell him why such features dont exist around Canadian houses.
This friend did not know that the gates, high walls and the guards be they Maasai with their simis or mgambo like group so and so are the sign of corruption and selfishness! He did not know that corruption begets the society of fear! Worse enough, this fear is among the same citizens!
Canada has nothing like that. How can it have this if at all the government and the citizenry fulfill their duties to each other? Every able Canadian pays tax to the government. The government in turn it fulfills all agreed duties. If anything, Canada has a very strong social security system that can not be found anywhere on earth thanks to a strong and responsible tax collection system.
If one peeped into the tax world most people we see in Africa priding themselves of being tycoons, he would die of shock to discover they are criminals for evading tax and stealing as happened in the Richmond scam in Tanzania.
Canadians are living like one family. They are not angels. But again when it comes to worthy life, Canada is second to none. I shall adduce the reasons: Generally every Canadian is entitled to all essential amenities of life such as shelter, food and medication. To make sure this works, if ones annual income is below C$ 30,000, he is categorized as poor. Thus he is entitled to some tax exemptions and support from the government. Every Canadian has his or her health covered under Medical Care Program (MCP). This differs from one province to another. Every teen is entitled to free education up to grade twelve. Every Canadian is entitled to family care.
Whilst in Tanzania, for example, the national housing houses are used by the-well-to-do bureaucrats, in Canada, government houses are the venue of families especially those with lower income. Rent paid for these houses depend on the income of the person and the category one is in.
Every general rule has an exception to it. Looking at the goodies of Canadian system one may think there are no hitches. Though Canadians are entitled to essential amenities, there are those who mismanage the assistance (such as social service money) that is offered monthly to the jobless. Some of the beneficiaries of this money squander it so as to become panhandlers on the streets. However their number is smaller.
If anything, this is the source of tranquility and maximum security in Canadian cities. One does not need a guard or a wall. What for if at all everybody gets his daily bread? Canadian system does not build walls and gates to do away from crimes. Instead it builds human lives based on equal and reasonable distribution and provision of services. Nobody fears anybody. We fear weather. We fear blizzards, cold, tornadoes, snow and other related natural agents but not human beings.
Dar es salaam or Mombasa like damsels and women have all right and room to enjoy donning on their regalia from gems such as gold earrings, bracelets, chains and what not to all wares as they are pleased. No threat of your vipuli or ear being snatched.
Recently scientists discovered that stonewalled houses we are prone of in Africa are the good source of asthmatic problems. For the ventilation is really poor.So my friends in Masaki, Muthaiga, Lavington, Oyesterbay, Mbezi and Karen in Dar and Nairobi respectively, beware! What you think is the symbol of affluence is nothing but the symbol of decadence so to speak.
By Nkwazi Mhango
Mhango is a Tanzanian living in Canada. He is a Journalist, Teacher, Human Rights activist and member of the Writers' Association of New Foundland and Labrador (WANL)
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