Late 2003 to 2004 saw Jonathan in fourteen countries in thirteen weeks, as he visited various countries in Africa, Europe and North America, for business meetings, conference engagements and fund-raising.
In mid-2004, African Enterprise had major meetings involving board chairs and executives from the ten African operations as well as satellite offices in Europe, North America and Australia. The organization was transitioning from its first to its second generation (40+ years). At the request of the international CEO, Jonathan coordinated the design of, and co-facilitated, a major strategic review and planning process for the international leadership. He also designed and co-facilitated follow-up meetings for senior management.
These meetings were held in Rwanda and the Congo. In Rwanda Jonathan encountered numbers of ordinary people with horrific stories to tell. A taxi driver had his jaw reconstructed from his shin bone. One person who lost his family who were slaughtered in a church while its pastor stood by and watched, asked “where was God?” Jonathan wondered if God had asked, “where were my people?”
It was in these travels across Africa that Jonathan observed how much this vast continent has been impacted by human activity. Even in flight he was surprised at how extensive human cultivation and deforestation are. In the parts of Rwanda he travelled through he saw barely a leaf of indigenous vegetation, and many invasive species. Madagascar lies in ecological ruin.
Aid agencies are everywhere but, as Paul Theroux cynically observes in Dark Star Safari, the Africa of the 2000s is socio-economically worse than the Africa of the 1960s. Dependence on aid, coupled with grossly unfair and inequitable global trading conditions, has left this beautiful continent crippled.