Before I left for a three-month volunteer teacher position working with Burmese migrants in Ranong, Thailand (which subsequently turned into 15 months) I pondered some of the issues raised in my last blog: We Need to Talk About Voluntourism: A Commentary Was I doing the right thing? Was I really needed there? What would the impact of having someone from another culture and no knowledge of the local language be? Were my experience and qualifications adequate to do the job I was tasked with? Rather than become part of the problem, I wanted to empower, build capability and inspire.
A while back a friend sent me an article written in The Spinoff entitled "We need to talk about voluntourism". 'Voluntourism' or volunteer tourism, is based upon the concept of doing something good while travelling, and has been gaining popularity in recent years. NGOs connect people wanting to give something back with projects (usually) in so-called developing countries. This may include assisting with construction, conservation and environmental projects, teaching English and the oft sought after orphanage tourism. While it is often possible to help for long periods of time - months or years, tourists often dedicate part of their holiday to a project, say a few weeks.
50 Shades of the USA is an honest and compelling read, flooded with vivid impressions of the land and urban scapes Anna rides through. I recommend this un-put-downable book for not only the adventurous at heart, but for anyone that wants to be inspired to take a fresh approach to life and to reach seemingly insurmountable goals.
One day I hope that children won't have to work so their families can survive, That they won't have to work in factories or scavenge plastic bottles or find crabs to sell.
With so much fresh produce available here in Thailand - an array of tropical fruit, local 'green leaves, herbs and other vegetables, I eat fairly well. I rarely throw out edible food, but there are always unconsumed seeds, skins and peelings that end up in my bin. Knowing what I do about food waste (a third… Continue reading The Bokashi Experiment
Social impacts of travelling are important but can be complex. Here are some thoughts on how one might be an ethical traveller.
What is an ethical traveller? I my last blog I posed a series of questions and dilemmas I had encountered during my recent trip to Myanmar. Here are some thoughts on how one might be an ethical traveller. To me, being this means aspiring to travel in both a social and environmentally responsible manner.