Select Page
Trump’s Wall vs. TribeLAB’s Playground – Two approaches to the refugee crisis

Trump’s Wall vs. TribeLAB’s Playground – Two approaches to the refugee crisis

“All Mongolians are criminals, they’re drug dealers, and they’re rapists!” proclaimed Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, China’s first Emperor as he rose to power, promising to build a wall to keep out all those pesky Mongolians. Which is exactly what he did, and so the Great Wall of China was built. Yet he failed to even appreciate the extensiveness his own greatness, for not only did it keep out all the Mongolians, it also kept out all the Mexicans.

“China built a wall, and guess how many Mexicans they have.” tweeted Donald J Trump on September 24th, 2015.

And he was very right. China does indeed have very few Mexicans. So in that aspect, could you call building a wall to stop an entire race of people from entering your country a worthwhile and effective strategy at a very complicated issue?

Lets have a look at two very different strategies.

Trump’s wall vs TribeLAB’s playground

First up, Donald J Trump.

Donald Trump’s strategy for tackling the immigration issue, by his own website’s admission, involves:

  • Building a wall across the southern border, which Mexico should pay for.
  • Eviction of all convicted foreigners for even the slightest misdemeanor
  • Legalised discrimination based on ethnicity for jobs
  • Cutting aid to refugee programs

Now let’s just have a look at one of these issues, because frankly I have better things to do. But let’s see what effect that building a wall between the USA and Mexico would have.

No matter how patriotic or what level of national pride you may have – and there’s nothing wrong with that per-se – you have to consider the idea that every single country is simply a made up thing. It isn’t real, it doesn’t actually exist. It is a human construct divided by imaginary lines drawn on pieces of paper that separate what we all collectively have accepted as being “different countries”, but in reality, it is all just different bits of this rock, this planet we all live on. These lines, these borders, move all the time. They are imaginary. They aren’t real. Some countries are separated by water, they are islands, and that has more credibility. There is physically a large body of water separating it from other parts of land. But other than that, a country is simply a made up, imaginary geo-political construct which we all sort of believe and accept.

The truth is that we are all human beings, and we are all living on this planet called earth, and very few of us actually originate and owe our ancestry to the place we now find ourselves in. Borders, countries, nations, whatever – all of these are artificial constructs distracting us from the truth that we are all human beings, we all feel, we all suffer, we all love, and we all deserve every opportunity to do whatever we can to make our lives as happy and joy-filled as possible and contribute as much as we can to our society’s advancement.

As someone who spent 2015 travelling all through Central America and crossing many of these borders, it is abundantly clear that those opportunities for personal and collective advancement are very different, depending on which side of one of those imaginary lines you are born.

As Russel Brand famously pointed out, “An immigrant is just someone who used to be somewhere else…” The desire to improve your own life, and that of your family, should be celebrated, not condemned or criminalised. In fact, doesn’t that very idea lie at the heart of the American dream?

Building a wall, a real, physical wall, would only serve to further entrench the separation and segregation which one could argue is the defining crisis of our generation. It strengthens the “us vs them” mentality, when in reality, there is really only “us”. We are all in this together, on this planet, trying to make things work. It would be a step backwards, reminiscent of the Cold War and the Berlin Wall, which history celebrated the world over when humanity finally gathered the strength to realise that what we have in common is far more powerful than any of the superficial things which separate us.

Every victory in every civil movement has involved the removal and breaking down of segregation, not building it up.

Ok so that’s Trump’s wall, now let’s have a look at TribeLAB

If you don’t know who TribeLAB are, that’s ok. While they may not share the same budget that the Worldvisions or UNICEFs of the world may have, the work they are doing is making waves across a wide range of developmental and indigenous issues, and even though they are small, many of the big players in the not-for-profit world are starting to pay attention to this small design collective, and for good reason.

Originally started to tackle indigenous sustainable housing in Guatemala, TribeLAB are now tackling abandonment, anger and youth mental health issues in refugee camps in Western Europe by building… Playgrounds! Being able to jump from designing and building homes for indigenous communities in Central America to designing and creating playgrounds for children in refugee camps is quite a leap, but that’s the advantage of being a smaller, more dynamic not-for-profit; their size gives TribeLAB the flexibility and agility that the bigger players in the scene simply do not have.

These children are often fleeing war, conflict, the destruction of their homes and neighbourhoods, and many of them have had to go through more in their short little lives than most of us in the Western World could even imagine. This is simply because we were born on a different part of this rock, on a different side of those imaginary lines. Fear, uncertainty, tragedy and loss are not words that should ever be used to describe or define a childhood.

If you are thinking that building a playground isn’t going to fix the refugee issue, then you are missing the point.

“Nobody can fix everything, but everyone can do something to make things a little bit better.”

TribeLAB aren’t trying to fix the refugee crisis. They’re just trying to build some playgrounds so kids can laugh and play and have some fun.

Play is fundamentally important to every child’s health and wellbeing. The UN even recognised play as one of a child’s basic human rights. Fun, laughter, joy, friendships, these are the words that should be used to describe a childhood.

Maybe if more people stopped trying to fix the big issues of the world, and instead tried just making things a little bit better, then slowly, but surely, we might just save the world.

Make children happy. Let children laugh. Help those in need. Make things a little bit better. These are all values and virtues which every human can grasp.

Build a wall. Be afraid. Blame those foreigners. Us vs Them. These are also ideas which every human has the capacity to choose, if they so wish.

Whichever side we choose says not only a lot about us as individuals, but also our collective humanity.

Here’s a video about TribeLAB’s most recent project, a playground in the refugee camp in Dunkirk.

(if the video doesn’t appear, you can watch it here.)

You can donate to help TribeLAB’s build a playground for children in refugee camps here.

Or to support Trump’s wall, you can donate to the Trump campaign here.

In 2014 Dan quit his job, sold or gave away all of his stuff and left to go travel the world.

He is the Director & Co-Founder of The Ridiculous Philanthropy Foundation, as well as the author of the upcoming book “How I Got Wasted, Got Laid & Saved The World”.

He loves tacos.

Why I walked out on a date with the hottest girl I’d ever dated

Why I walked out on a date with the hottest girl I’d ever dated

I just walked out on a date with one of the hottest women I’ve ever been on a date with. Here’s why…

So we met up at this taco place in Cancun, and she arrives and looks absolutely gorgeous, with a fancy dress and hair and make-up all done up like it was a Friday night and I was taking her to the most expensive restaurant in town because it was our anniversary. It wasn’t our anniversary, it was our first date, and it was a Thursday night. We were getting tacos.  I don’t think she was particularly pleased that I took her to a taco place, or that I was wearing a sideways cap and a dirty Tshirt with a swearing monkey on it but whatever woman this is just how I roll these days…

Anyway the tacos are super cheap, like 30 pesos for 2, so we order and start chatting. It seems to be going ok, I’ve done this before…

After a few minutes this woman comes up with her son behind her and starts speaking in Spanish. She didn’t seem homeless, or like a junkie, and the kid was wearing jeans and a nice shirt. She seemed like a normal mum. I could feel how uncomfortable the kid was. Anyway my date just dismissed them really quickly and they went off.

I watched this mum and son go to 3 or 4 different tables and nobody would help them. Then they crossed the road and went into Burger King.

The chick was telling me some boring story about her cat, which I really didn’t give a fuck about to be honest, so I interrupted her…

“Hang on, was that lady asking for money or food?”

“Err food… But…”.

“For her or for her son?”

“For her son I think, but…”

“Here, hang on a second, I’ll be right back…”

I got up and crossed the road to the Burger King, and saw the mum sitting in one of the booths with her head on her hands crying. Her son was opposite her, just sitting there.

I went over, and said in my best crappy Spanish “lo siento, hablo solamente un pocito espanol, pero el chico… El necessito comida?” (I’m sorry I only speak a little spanish, the boy… He needs food?)

The woman lifted her head up, tears pouring down her face, and she said “si, si”.

I looked at the kid “tienes hambre?” (You hungry?)

He said yes, in English.

I smiled and said “ok, let’s get you some food kid!”

We went up to the counter and I told him he could order whatever he wanted. He seemed really nervous, I could feel how ashamed he was. At first he said he’d just have some fries, but i insisted he could have whatever he wanted, it was ok. He ordered some BK triple chicken whopper burger combo meal with a large fries and a sprite. While we waited we chatted.

His name was Steven, he spoke a little English but it was probably better than my spanish. His dad had just died. His mum didn’t work. It was now just the two of them. His mum has some problem with her eyes to where it was hard for her to get a job. He was trying to find work but it was hard because he was only 8.

His meal was 69 pesos. I paid with a hundred, and gave him the change and told him to do something nice with it for his mum. And to at least share his fries with her. He thanked me, and said I was a very nice man. I left to go back to my date.

Back at the taco place the chick was pissed.

“What the hell! You invite me to this crappy place, then you just walk off and leave me here by myself?”

“Yeah, the kid was hungry…”

“So? Do you not think it’s rude to just walk off in the middle of a date!?”

At that point our tacos arrived. I put 30 pesos on the table.

“You know what? Here I’ll pay for that kid’s food, but I’m not paying for yours. Peace out brussel sprout.”

I grabbed my tacos, shoved one into my mouth, and walked off.

She seemed like a cow anyway…

It was one of my greatest exit lines ever.

sorry bitch


In 2014 Dan quit his job, sold or gave away all of his stuff and left to go travel the world.

He is the Director & Co-Founder of The Ridiculous Philanthropy Foundation, as well as the author of the upcoming book “How I Got Wasted, Got Laid & Saved The World”.

He loves tacos.

The Problem With Not Giving A Fuck

The Problem With Not Giving A Fuck

Do you give a fuck? Or do you not give a fuck? Really who gives a fuck if you do or you don’t?

Why do we give a fuck more about what happens on Sons of Anarchy than actual gang related violence? Why do we give a fuck about Kim Kardashian’s ass and not about the reality that every day children are sold into sex slavery and child prostitution?

We give a fuck about what people think about us, and not whether we’re being the people we really think we should be.

Truth is, as human beings we only have a limited amount of fucks we can give. Some of us have more, some of us have less, but we all have a certain amount of fucks, and it is our choice to give them wherever we want.

The problem is that many of us give our fucks to things that really don’t matter. We give a fuck about our shitty jobs. We give a fuck about the economy. We give a fuck about our ex. We give a fuck about ISIS. If your ex is now in ISIS then you’re really fucked…

But it’s only when we stop giving a fuck, that we begin to replenish our fuck bank. If we stop giving a fuck about ISIS, then that fuck comes back to us. If we stop giving a fuck about all the unimportant shit, then all of a sudden we have a whole bunch of fucks we can give about things we can actually consciously choose to give a fuck about. We can direct our fucks, we can aim them, to worthwhile causes.

We never do anything we don’t give a fuck about. Why would we? So if we’re ever gonna do anything worthwhile, we need to start giving a fuck about it.

So stop giving a fuck about everything. Take your fucks back. Reclaim your fucks. Go an entire day where not a single fuck was given.

Then decide what YOU really give a fuck about.

(hint: its probably not what the media tells you you should give a fuck about…)

In 2014 Dan quit his job, sold or gave away all of his stuff and left to go travel the world.

He is the Director & Co-Founder of The Ridiculous Philanthropy Foundation, as well as the author of the upcoming book “How I Got Wasted, Got Laid & Saved The World”.

He loves tacos.

How to Nearly Die in Costa Rica

How to Nearly Die in Costa Rica

Ever wondered what it would be like to flip a raft in the middle of a category 4 rapid, or zip-line across a giant valley between two mountains hundreds of meters up in the air, or watch a guy get his head crushed in a bullfight that you drunkenly decided to join in?

Thought you did…

In 2014 Dan quit his job, sold or gave away all of his stuff and left to go travel the world.

He is the Director & Co-Founder of The Ridiculous Philanthropy Foundation, as well as the author of the upcoming book “How I Got Wasted, Got Laid & Saved The World”.

He loves tacos.