March 20, 2017

orphanages in africa

you've probably noticed something missing from my blog.  if not, let me tell you what you won't see.  me, a white girl, surrounded by a group of over exploited black children.

yes, it seems on the list of everyone visiting africa that they post a photo of themselves, usually in an 'orphanage', 'helping' the children of africa by stopping in for a day to teach english, play games or some other nonsense that makes them feel good about themselves.

in Asia this it is a huge taboo to allow tourists to visit orphanages [because of the pedophile trade] so at first i was shocked but then i began to understand what was going on.  here it is an industry.  

the women in the villages were watching as tourists flocked to the orphanages and left money donations to support the organizations.  being willing [most but not all] to exploit the western tourists for their money they opened 'orphanages' in their villages.  however, in their case it's more like day care, at the end of the day the children go home to a family with money in their pocket collected from the tourists that day.  one orphanage here was painted three times in the last year so volunteer tourists could feel good about 'helping' africa.  

so think about that when your tour guide says, 'would you like to visit an orphanage?' it's probably a red flag that you picked the wrong tour company but you will get your photo surrounded by exploited african children that you can post on facebook. 

i have plenty of photos of me interacting with locals so don't think i only have western friends here.  i just don't want to exploit them the way i see other people doing it.  

where i live in northern Tanzania is a hotbed of NGOs so getting a volunteer position here is easier than getting a job at mcdonalds.  it's hard to differentiate what i do.  creating jobs, empowering the people through sustainable economic development vs. this cycle of dependence on foreign aid.  ugh... enough for this week.  fun stuff next post i promise!



February 15, 2017

an american visit

had a short visit from an American friend and it was surprising to realize how much i miss my friends from home.  sure i skype with a lot of people but it's really not the same because there isn't a way to describe the not knowing if there will be water or electricity of some other disaster when get home.  

but when she mentioned she wasn't checking any luggage i was quick to throw together a bag of stuff that is mostly gifts and souvenirs that will lighten my load when i return.  as i kept wrapping orange duck tape around the bag she kept saying what are you doing?  

clearly, when you think it not just normal but also necessary to wrap your bags in duck tape when checking them from a third world country you've been traveling for too long.  i've long passed the point when dragging this off the baggage carousel would embarrass me.