Let’s admit, we do love to have little African kids smiling in our photograph – it just makes us look like we have had an exciting holiday, right? Pictures with the smiling kids in rags say “Look, what an exotic shot I got here”?
But have we repaid them in anyway? Any way at all? Even if it is for the momentary joy their presence brings into our lives?
In this post I do not mean to sound preachy – it is not an appeal or a suggestion – this here is my opinion, my observations. I really believe that we, as travelers, must do our bit for the people living in parts of the world we happen to be traveling in – especially those in the under-developed or developing nations. There is a reason I am saying this – if we are seeing them with our very own eyes, we sure are blessed enough to be able to afford a trip to these place, so we really can’t complain, right? Tell me if I am wrong.
And I am not even talking about the bigger things.
Okay, it may not always be practical to budget extra money for things that may not necessarily “change” a life, but as responsible people, I suppose we must do out bit (at least try) to give back a little something for what we have been given.
We travel. Often far and wide and for long periods of time. We follow our dreams. I do too. But those who have traveled through the heart of south east Asia or Africa will agree that, despite its beautiful landscapes, lush vegetation and abundant wildlife, a lot of people have no access to basic necessities, like fresh water, food, clean toilets and change of clothes. So if you are planning to visit any of these countries (Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia….) you could do your bit in many ways … I have seen a lot of people do so, which really was my inspiration too, so I am hoping in some way someone reading this post will pack that “little something” for someone they have never met, but know exist.
Here is what I do
1. Carry old clothes (as many as I can)
2. Bath soap/toothpaste
3. Pencils, picture books, writing pad
4. Crayons, sketch pens
7. Water bottles
8. Hair clips, ribbon, chocolates
9. Visit orphanage or child care home and hand over whatever I can spare.
10. Give away anything that I don’t need to bring back.
…essentially anything that can fit into my backpack. I am sure it doesn’t change someone’s life, but at least brings a little smile on a child’s face. Do your bit for the world. It’s a good thing to do!