Last weekend I got the opportunity to return to Cordoba, where I spent a month this summer. It was great to go back to the community of Santa Rosa, where the toilet block we worked on is now nearly finished. The people there seem quite positive; their crops are growing and they have just about enough land to support themselves. It was a different story in another, longer-established community of displaced people I visited for the first time. They live in well-built concrete houses but have little land and no work. They are hungry. So imagine our reaction when the pastor of the little church asked if we could help them buy a sound system for the church. How would you have responded?
a) How absurd! Your people need food, clothes and work. Surely a sound system is an expensive luxury and should be way down your list of priorities.
b) Mmmmm. Interesting. Why is a sound system of such importance to you, given the other needs you face?
c) Of course. If that is what you perceive as a need, who are we to question that? Let's see what we can do to find you the resources for a sound system.
d) Why can't you see us as people, and not just as potential sources of money?
I still haven't worked out what the right answer is.