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Whose village?

We live in a Global Village, no idea who first used this phrase. Sometimes it is also difficult to grasp that what happens in one place, can have its effect somewhere else.

 

Take Zambia for example, a country that has been politically stable for years, full of natural beauty and spectacular wildlife and filled with wonderful and friendly people. Zambians are averse to hastiness, shallowness and superficial relations. A young woman once told me: “When I look at people from the western world, I see that they are in a hurry, they have no time, they look without seeing anything.” She said that whenever she goes to the local market for her groceries or to Dukas (small shops), she talks to whomever she meets, asks them what the news of the day is and how they are doing.

 

Numerous safaris are organized in Zambia. Tourists visit the lodges located in beautiful reserves full of wildlife. The tourist industry has developed by working in close cooperation with the rural areas. How that works? Well, take Mr Maambo for instance. He works as a guide at a community tourist village, his father is a waiter at a bush camp, his cousin grows tomatoes and sells them to the lodges in the neighbourhood, his children can go to school and get at least one meal a day. They are getting a better education at a sponsored school and his wife is employed at a local textile factory for which the market comprises tourists visiting the lodge shops.

 

The effect of the tourists on this local community is big: tyre-menders, hairdressers and other small-scale entrepreneurs are able to start-up their small businesses.

But whilst the Zambians were finally hauling themselves out of extreme poverty and realizing opportunities for a better life, the financial whiz kids on Wallstreet started the beginning of the financial crisis. Greediness, the “very hungry caterpillar” consumes unscrupulously.

 

Mr. Maambo does not have internet, but listens to the radio though and hears the news of collapsing economies. Zambia played no part in all this high-level financial risk taking. Still, Mr. Maambo and his family are affected: tourist numbers are falling, less tips, lodges cutting back on their workforce, less donations for education, less food, increasingly less money to spend locally. Mr. Maambo wonders when it will end. Yes, that is a good question and not easy to answer in a Global Village.

 

Jan Bijpost

April 2014

Inspired by Travel Zambia


Elske  |  2014 04 25  |  Permalink  |  Share

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