Responsible travel - giving something back to Africa
Jane Kaye-Bailey, founder of The Butterfly Tree submitted this piece to us for Earth Day about the importance of taking care of our planet when we travel and see its wonders. As she works for an NGO in Zambia, she is very knowledgable about traveling in Africa and the effects global warming is having on the planet.
For centuries African countries have been exploited, many prospering from the rich natural resources found in countries such as Congo, Zimbabwe and Zambia. These countries are now some of the poorest in the world decimated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, war and poverty.
Now it is time for the West to 'give something back' and help Africa overcome their numerous hardships. Earlier this year several countries in Eastern and Southern Africa suffered the worst flooding in decades; lives and livestock were lost, homes and crops destroyed, entire communities submerged in water. Is this a result of 'global warming? There is no welfare available and the governments are so poor they have to appeal for international aid.
I am working in Zambia as an NGO, the nation is experiencing a 'boom' in tourism and once again the hoteliers and tour companies are exploiting local communities. It isn't enough just to offer employment to the people, they need health care, safe water and education. It is shameful to hear that hoteliers drain the local bore holes to water golf courses, which is the case in some developing countries.
Through education these people are willing to learn; unfortunately too many cannot go to school due to lack of funds. The area around the Victoria Falls has many tribal villages that depend on the sale of wood carvings to tourists in order to earn a living. Sadly the trees are being depleted; through education they can be taught about growing seeds, planting trees and sustainability. We are encouraging the schools, where we are operating, to grow seeds, learn about waste and recycling but before we can make progress they need the essential in life:
WATER FOOD HEALTH and EDUCATION