community tourism (11)

The Case for Kiribati


Its name pronounced “Kiribass,” this nation comprised of 33 atolls and reef islands (population around 121,000) is spread over more than a million square miles out in the central Pacific Ocean midway between Hawaii and Australia (some 3,107 miles southeast), as well as 2,175 north of Fiji (in fact, it´s served internationally by Fiji Airways and Qantas, and its currency is the Aussie dollar). Kiribati is known for its laid-back vibe, stunning waters and marine life, as well as the culture

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The Allures of Ivory Coast/Côte d´Ivoire


A bit smaller than England and a bit larger than New Mexico this chunk of West Africa (formally known in French as Côte d'Ivoire), gets only some  670,000 visitors a year but deserves many more, as a fascinating mix of natural, cultural, and historical attractions. Here are its top draws:



The country's largest city as well as sub-Saharan Africa´s sixth largest (pop. around 5.7 million), the former political and still economic capital is a bustling metropolis with a mix of

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Visiting  minority villages

At an elevation of 1,600 meters, Sapa is a delightful former French hill station in the mountainous region of Vietnam's northwest, close to the Chinese border. The region is home to many ethnic minority groups, each with its own traditional and colorful attire. A visit here includes a trek through the hills and valleys of the Sapa region, discovering several different minorities along the way and staying overnight accommodation in the hospitable villages of the Giay
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Kapchorwa, found in Eastern Uganda at the base of Mt. Elgon, is not endowed with that many nationally recognized natural or historical attractions. But the whole place called Kapchorwa district is a natural attraction in itself. It has splendour of steep slopes and natural escarpments, from forested mountains, which are tempting for a mountain climb, to numerous falls from rivers flowing out of mountains, to the sites that make you feel like you have the whole world under your feet, Kapchorwa

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Day 3: Kibera, Africa's Biggest Slum

February 6th 2009, 15:38

The words ‘slum’ and ‘poverty’ are well used. Maybe you’ve read Shantaram, which some say romanticises these terms. Trying to tread the line between, on the one hand, outright horror and on the other, sheer awe at the spirit of human nature to exist, it’s impossible to say that, up close, it isn’t everything you’d expect, and worse, without also saying how much more to it there is than just squalor and poverty. 

So far, we’d only seen Kibera from a distance. We’d stopped a

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Open Hand Orphanage, Nairobi - The Sequel

March 29th 2009, 15:30

When we arrived at the orphanage to stay for the weekend (which was our second weekend during our internship at Pamoja), the staff were embarrassed because the water had been cut off. “We haven’t done any washing since yesterday!” they said apologetically, and it meant we had nothing else to do than play!

I don’t know what came over me, but I did a very unusual thing: I let someone else use my camera. In fact, I let 20 kids use my camera, bending forward and holding it for t

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Nairobi: Circumcision

February 25th 2009, 18:00

Back at Jane’s, we sat down for a soda and a chat with Bill (but not before I’d gone to the bathroom and doused my face liberally with Dettol, there not being enough ice cream). When, in his first email to me back in London, Bill had said, “My culture is circumcision and I hope you will enjoy it,” we’d assumed there had been some sort of communication breakdown. But as we sat with him in the sitting room while he told us about his culture and traditions, we realised ther

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Pamoja Trust Farewell

March 29th 2009, 15:38

How much help we could really be would always be in question. They certainly didn’t learn as much from me as I did from them, although Alex had a queue of people wanting him to do to their computer what he’d done for others. But that was not reflected in their send off for us, which was more appreciative than I’ve ever experienced in my entire working life. We even featured in one of the songs they sang and danced for us. Four weeks goes quickly, but it’s long enough to dev

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Pamoja Trust, Nairobi


Kids living in one of Nairobi's 183 slums


February 27th 2009, 12:30

The next Monday, just like the rest of you, we were at work for 9am. And, as working weeks do all over the world, they have flown by. As I type, we are approaching the end of our four weeks. During that time, we have been privileged to see both how the trust works and the good that it does, as well as being exposed to what doesn’t work so well, i.e. the problems associated with unreliable power supplies, poor internet connections

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Day 4: Open Hand Orphanage, Nairobi

February 25th 2009, 17:00

Jane, who runs our guesthouse, is one of four directors of an orphanage in Githurai, one of the few stone buildings on the edge of one of Nairobi’s 183 slums. Thursday was her visiting day and she was happy to take us along. We arrived just in time for a bible reading, which was weird because only the previous day, I’d told Alex I’d like to go to one. I’m not religious, and don’t believe in God, which is not something I’d recommend bringing up in conversation in Africa (

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