This is a blog about my travels. My "regular" life is much too boring to bother blogging about.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

People have interesting reactions when I tell them I'm going to Mozambique. A lot of people clearly have no idea where that is, which is fine. And a lot of people immediately ask me whether or not I'd be doing relief work there, with which organization and for how long. This question is often followed by a look of puzzlement when I let them know that, no, I'd be tramping around, eating, lying on beaches, dancing in nightclubs and doing other "vacation" things while I'm there.

It's interesting that Africa is seen by some as a place that needs to be "saved" by caucasoid travelers. That's not to denigrate relief work, or the people who do it; I'm inclined to think they do pretty awesome work. I guess I just find it curious that nobody asked me similar questions when I was on my way to Central America, or that travelers heading to places like SE Asia aren't expected to build houses or whatever while they're there. Perhaps it speaks to a certain perception of Africa in the West, an attitude rooted in White Man's Burden-like doctrines that presuppose that Africa is inhabited by a rather hapless population, making it incumbent on caucasians to go to Africa and teach the locals how to do things properly. Or, maybe not. All I know is that I'm bored of people asking me about relief work.


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