http://www.aina-madagascar.org/en

A new form of travelling has been discovered in this new century since ecotourism. Solidarity tourism is a new opportunity to lead a local development and give them chance to get benefit from Tourism Business, usually kept by big multinational in Tourism Industry.

Another kind of travelling for tourists as well to discover and learn many things even themselves. Often, we tend to think and make a conclusion from our mass media and documentation, ( Books, Magazines, ..) about one destination (especially in The Third world) and during the trip, we were just there as an observer, took pictures and got back home boasting to our neighbor that we made a trip. Little did we know how those people that we visited really live, their way of life far away from tourism destination and how they faced their everyday life. Apparently, we prejudge that they are in a rough condition, but how can they keep smiling, a real smile from their heart. And when we get back home, have you ever noticed our neighbor in such a good condition, materially speaking, but still to complain about things that really nonsense comparing to those friendly people we met during our trip?

I really now understand that Solidarity Tourism personally is a way to find out ourselves and how our world works out. I spent for several weeks with Aina Madagascar in the village of Ankarefo. It was an incredible experience and things that I really think I can overcome. Ankarefo is a place that I learnt a lot. Even if this village used to work with Aina Madagascar as a host village, people seem to be intrigued to see a “vazaha girl” (Western people) living among them, eating rice three times a day, strong black coffee in the morning…and every day there were always people from another villages around Ankarefo coming to greet, chatting and say “hi” to Ankarefo. I think they have made many miles but really want to get there just to say “hi”.

The school extension is one the major of the aims of solidarity projects that Aina Madagascar work with the villagers, I am glad to know that now they made the second classroom and kids can get benefit from it. Those kids are really smart; unfortunately they only focused on their surrounding and have no chance for the moment to open their mind to worldwide. One day, we tried to make drawings and the majority of them only put some zebus, simple houses, …limited imagination, but I am really sure that if they have chance to discover another kind of world they will be able to really think outside the box. That reminds me one reflection “Should the environment make Man or should the Man make the environment?”

So I encourage Aina Madagascar to keep on their work, the kind of Tourism they use could be a good way to promote local development, and make people learn about other cultures and themselves.

Mazotoa

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