December 1, 2 and 3 – Money

Yesterday was an eventful travel day. Get on a plane, get off a plane, get on a plane, get off a plane, go to a hotel. So we didn’t even attempt to write a blog.

Today however was far more exciting. Get on a plane, get off a plane, get in a taxi, get out of a taxi, go to a hotel. We could hardly contain our enthusiasm.

We are in paradise. Matemwe, on the east coast of Zanzibar. Miles of beach to walk, water to swim and scuba dive in. A breeze to keep us cool in the heat.

We go on a walk through the village and realize right away that we are not in Botswana any more. Hawkers approach us asking if we want to go snorkeling. We get a shock when the little children say Jambo! and then ask for money, which brings Murray to write the following………

Which brings me to today’s topic, money. Not money per say but the word. It is one of the few English words that kids around the world know. Hi Mister. Money. I always answer, Hi. No. I cannot understand why the kids ask for money. Is that what they are taught by their parents? I do not believe so, I think it is because some *$@&$# tourists actually give them money. I do not care how cute or how poor the kid is there is absolutely no excuse to give anyone cash just for the asking. What the hell is that going to teach them except that they can get something for nothing and that maybe that tourists are truly stupid.

I was talking with the waiter on our safari in Botswana and he passed on a story about a fellow Canadian. This fellow was a pilot from Toronto. He must have thought himself a very important person because he made the waiter feel very small. The conversation went something like this: Tourist; How much money do you make? Waiter; I make 900 pula/month (about $120 US). Tourist: I make that much in one day. Why on earth would this pilot want to say that to a person he knows could not possibly make that kind of money at any time in his life time. It is not so much he was bragging about HOW much money he made but it is that he spent no time what so ever supplying a context within which that wage is made. How much rent is in Toronto. How much a mango cost at the grocery store. That in most places in North America it is imperative that one own an automobile. None of this was explained only that he made an extraordinary amount of cash and because he did he could live a life that this poor waiter will never live. I spent the better part of 2 hours trying to undo the harm that this fellow Canadian had managed to inflict on my now friend. I can only hope that he feels a little better about his job and himself. The people in the developing nations for some reason look towards the western nations as a goal to strive towards. I know I am not the only one that believes we of the western world do not have all the answers. There are a lot of really good things about our ways but along with the good comes the bad, we know what most of the bad things are yet we pass on our way of life lock, stock and barrel without any regard for the impact it might have on the peoples on the receiving end. Please take into account who you are talking to and consider what information you are passing on and at the very least put it in context. No matter how wonderful you think your life is, the person you are talking to has a good life as well and I do not think it is fair to belittle their world. I travel to many developing nations and what I see is many happy people, they do not have all the junk we have but they are laughing and smiling and enjoying their neighbors. I see no reason to burst their bubble.

Three days in one what a bonus. Today we were suppose to dive but there is not enough room on the boat so we got bumped. It is an akunamatata day. It’s early and we walk out the front door and walk directly into the water for a short swim. Breakfast is on the deck with a beach view of the Indian Ocean. You cannot believe how hard this is to take. A walk though the village with more requests for money, out to the beach for the return walk. Our lunch stop is at a hotel with an upper deck on the restaurant overlooking the beach. You must be getting the picture by now.

Yesterday at about 5pm the tide came in and we went for a short swim. The tide was out most of the day and the water in the tidal pool was heated. I have never ever swam in such warm water. I would swim a bit and then pop up when I put my head back in the water to swim again it felt like a hot, not warm, hot bath. This morning the hot water had time to mix with the cooler water and the water was only warm. It is now 4pm and we are headed for another ‘bath.’ Tomorrow we will find out what this part of the world’s ocean has to offer in terms of adventure.

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