On Minga

So I got to attend a talk by Craig Kielburger of Free the Children and Me to We Fame and he introduced this really awesome concept of Minga. This man was trying to build a school in either central of south America. Due to some set of circumstances they only had two day left there to finish building this school. They didn't think it would be possible so they went to talk to the community elder, to explain that they wouldn't be able to finish in time. The response was a casual "don't worry we will call a minga" Obviously this was being translated and when the word came up, an explanation was given. "A spontaneous gathering of people to help out and work for the good of the community". Sounded simple enough, but they didn't believe it would be enough to help.
The next morning literally the entire population of the surrounding area and beyond had showed up to build this school. Most of them had other work they could have been doing and many of them would never directly benefit from the school, but they did it anyways. It startled and humbled these volunteers who were building the school and it made them realize something important. Alot of linguist and anthropologist will tell you that language reflects culture and vice versa. In English we have no word for Minga and this type of thing never happens here in Canada, or North America. The closest translation that could be thought of was riot, except for good.
What does that say about our culture?

No comments: