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.
Social impacts of travelling are important but can be complex. Here are some thoughts on how one might be an ethical traveller.
Ranong, surrounded by lush jungle, adjacent to the Andaman Sea on Thailand's west coast, is an intriguing place. A Thai border town, with Kawthaung in Myanmar a speedy half-hour boat ride away, it has one of the highest density of migrants in Thailand, with Burmese* numbering approximately equivalent to Thai. Living (or even simply visiting) here,… Continue reading Inequality: An Opportunity to Learn?
With eight months of rain a year, Ranong has fortuitous growing conditions. I decided to try and photograph some of these 'gardens' to demonstrate the ways people actively try to incorporate nature into urban living.
The Asian monsoon season presents inconveniences, challenges and major disruptions. Our climate is changing. How might future events such as flooding affect you and your community?
It's around 8pm as I unwind from a busy day which has included planning and teaching various lessons, dodging trucks and motorbikes through chaotic streets by bike and buying soil for my soon-to-be-flourishing balcony 'garden'. My belly is full of curry and rice and I'm contemplating devouring a square or two of chocolate. There are… Continue reading Water for Life
The student's caring bespectacled eyes beckoned me, "Teacher! Come and have some of my lunch. Please!" Dishes of vegetable, chicken and rice were quickly exhibited. "Oh thanks! But, I already have my lunch," I replied. Some two hours later, having changed out of my teacher's uniform, I was wandering through school carrying a small backpack. "Teacher! Where are you… Continue reading The Guilt of Privilege