Spend any time on this blog and you will discover I love travelling. I enjoy the geography, the cultures, the excitement even of seeing other parts of this planet we all share. I have been fortunate to have travelled to a variety of places but no where near as many as many as Chris Guilllebeau who endeavoured to visit--and succeeded--193 countries in the world before age 35. You can visit his blog here.
Many books I read are set in different countries or cultures and I enjoy become acquainted with the way of life and struggles in developing countries. The ambition and entrepreneurship is inspiring. If I can I like to support them directly in a small way. I must confess I am skeptical of large charitable organizations. Some no doubt do good but there is a lot of corruption. I've read of the resistance to the charity that provides a goat to poor families in Africa because a goat can be the foundation of a small family business as it grows to a herd. It seems that, unlike cash, from which many hands can take a share before a small amount, if any, reaches the deserving recipient, a goat must stay intact.
Definitely preferable, but still a little dubious, are the professional native displays. I suppose I can accept a costumed display of dancing or warrior skills which is presented as such but in our connected world most natives change to jeans and take out their cell phones when the tourists leave. I shouldn't feel a little tricked, but I do.
When I read passages such as:
"Within the Maasai community the male spouses are likely to be a few years older than the girls; some may be more than twice their age, and most of them are wealthy. Parents who make such marital choices look upon marriage as an economic arrangement."
from the Advancing Women on-line journal, I am reluctant to support this way of life as a tourist.