Sunday, July 25, 2010

Exploiting Poverty Is Awesome!

Please look at this flyer. Take your time. Here's the back:

The print may be small, but you should be able to read it. However, I'll paraphrase it for you:

Eager to experience life in the slum?

Well, you know, I am curious as to how those people live, but it can't be safe to walk through such a place.

No worries - you're guided by people who are from the slums! You can visit families where people are dying from AIDS and who knows what else. You can also visit prostitutes and give them condoms! Imagine how grateful they'll be! Maybe there will be time to pop into a school so children whom you will never see again (nor they you) can greet and sing for you. It's awesome!

Plus, since you'll be with a local person, you can take pictures! With no guilt! After all, what's the point of experiencing slum life if you can't show others what it's like? Show them that you intimately understand the problems facing the poorest of the poor.

And . . . breathe.

I had forgotten about this brochure I found in Red Chilli's information area, with advertisements for all sorts of activities available to the tourist in Uganda. Hmm, gorilla trekking, safari, ooo! slum tour! I am sure AFFCAD is doing wonderful things, but exploiting people in this way can't be one of them. I-I am not sure - what the fuck are you experiencing in a four-hour tour? How is this any different from a human zoo? Doesn't the organization realize this? Doesn't anyone who would even consider taking this trip? It would be better to simply donate 20,000ugx.

I am filled with questions and frustration. What do you think?


  1. That is the most terrible thing I have ever seen! I can't believe that kind of behavior is allowed! Do you have to pay for that too?

  2. It is pretty disgusting, even more so because i know people will do it! Anything for a picture, really, and after the tour everyone can leave feeling they've done something good and made a small impact, somehow. Somehow not.

  3. You can take "gang tours" in South Los Angeles.

  4. may be never got the mean of the slum tour and the importance it. it's not just turning people into a zoo this is all about showing the world how people are and in this process some have been helped. Try to to understand the mean of it and if you do. Try to see that you find a way to help the need instead of writing this to the world. I don't understand people like you. This is not a business as you call it it's the way we can fight for your people. as your self a question "what did you do about it"

  5. Kigozi - Not to split hairs, but the slum tour is a money-making element of AFFCAD, which despite a philanthropic core, is a business. But that's not the point of my post: I realize the organization is attempting to help people living in the slums of Kampala; I get that. My problem is that taking tourists to a brothel and handing out condoms doesn't address underlying problems: Will they face physical violence if they demand their customers use condoms? Why did these women (and girls) resort to prostitution and how can that be stopped? Same goes for visiting schools: seeing children in shabby buildings with no materials does nothing to address the problem of the Ugandan school curriculum, which focuses purely on memorization of predetermined facts while undermining practical skills and knowledge, thus contributing to rampant unemployment. Finally, taking people on a guided tour through a slum doesn't let them "know what it's like." How could a few hours ever convey the reality of crushing and debilitating poverty? That's insulting, especially to people who are living it. And it's exploitation, because you are exploiting the lives of the less fortunate in order to make money from others, regardless of good intentions. There are other ways to find donations.

  6. Hi,
    does anybody know, when these tours started (which year?).
    Where do I get further information?