The role of voluntourists in Love Binti, Step 30

在文檔中 台灣赴非志工旅遊之健康促進與反思-愛女孩計畫個案研究 - 政大學術集成 (頁 52-56)

4. Findings

4.1. The practicality of voluntourists

4.1.2 The role of voluntourists in Love Binti, Step 30

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volunteer, but the criteria are too high in need of fluent English and professional skills. These are not required by Love Binti.” (VT4).

In the responses, the researcher also found that the volunteering destination was not the prior concern, as VT4 mentioned “no matter which side of the world, as long as there is something I can do, I am willing to devote myself.” Different from a typical tourist voyage of Africa that focuses on the Great Migration or to discover the African mystery, it is a secondary concern for the voluntourists since all of them express the strong motivation of being there is to offer “help” and “change the status quo.”

Volunteering in Kenya is an added opportunity for them to understand the culture, including the products (e.g. handicrafts, arts), the way they think (e.g. attitude, belief, social value), and their behavior (e.g. social norm, lifestyle) (Littrell,1977). However, speaking of whether they would want to travel again with Love Binti, the answers were surprisingly coherent: no, for the expense being too high, yet the efficiency was too low. But they all agreed that a positive change for them was that they started to care more about helping the fellowship at home and rethink of what they have to offer.

The result of laypeople voluntary experience seemed to be more of a reflection towards “the global vision expansion and local actions materialization (

),” in line with what has mentioned in the researcher’s interview with the organizer of Heart for Africa, Taiwan Xing Zhong Lv ( ). Heart for Africa, Taiwan provides Taiwanese youngster boosting international service learning experiences in Swaziland and Kenya.

4.1.2 The role of voluntourists in Love Binti, Step 30

All of the LB voluntourists were for the first time traveling to a developing country. Ill-prepared for the extreme poor conditions in the local community, voluntourists may encounter circumstances and decisions they have not expected and are incapable of responding accordingly (McCall, 2014). In the itinerary, the

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voluntourists spent a day at the slum Matisi, which means “many bananas” in Swahili, with the dwellers to fully explore those living on the edge of their life. The first impressions that voluntourists had after arriving at the favela, as probably best illustrated by what the voluntourist VT2 expressively told me: “This is nowhere a place called home! The hut has no bed, no light, literally nothing. Only the ten children and their parents squeezed inside the mud hut.” (see Picture1). The experience of “being there” raised the tourist to an emotional response and intensified knowledge of the village and its inhabitants as poor. That is, the residents of Matisi were understood through, and inseparable from, a “foreign” imaginary such as poverty.

After walking through the stinking rubbish, gluey mud, and poisonous smell, the voluntourists were then separated into two groups, arranged by the Step 30 Kenyan staff. In Matisi, the slum houses are built with mud, dumps, and woods (see Picture2).

Picture1. Interior of the first slum house Picture 2. Matisi mud hut and the kids

“I will borrow dumps from the neighbor once a week to maintain the nearly collapsing mud hut because I cannot afford to raise the cow while taking care of my

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paralyzed husband and five children,” said Susan, the mother from one of the huts the voluntourist visited. When helping Susan to cook ugali, a common dish in Kenya made of maize flour, VT1 and VT4 found that Susan cooked all the ugali the family had to treat us. Therefore, the voluntourists asked Susan’s daughter to take them to the grocery store nearby buying some daily supplies for the family, including their first pair of shoes, ugali, salt, cookies, etc. Susan received the goods with tears rolling in her eyes, while her children were joyfully jumping around to try the shoes.

Meanwhile, the other group of voluntourists complained that they cannot communicate with the mother since she remained silent. Even when there were opportunities talking to women, some may be reluctant to express themselves in front of an outsider due to mistrust or low self-esteem, or that they are just not used to being asked for their opinion (Momsen, 2006). However, things had changed after VT2 and VT3 start helping and calling out her children to do family chores, such as collecting water at the well, cleaning the long piled dishes, and cooking ugali for the whole family. It was apparent that the mother regained the smile and the courage to communicate with us. The role of the voluntourists are critical for them being the recovering of hope in developing, and either the donations or physical help offered was being directed to the social betterment of the community. What the voluntourists did was simply bringing back order to the house. Slum tours gain the aura of nongovernmental solidarity, and tourism becomes a catalyst for ‘local development’

(Frenzel, 2012).

Communities and organizations often use medically untrained people to provide aid when working in areas shortage of health professionals (ibid). Love Binti also adopts this strategy when promoting health campaign to the villages, schools, churches, and slums. None of the voluntourists had a medical background, with only VT1 with experiences of social work for years. Upon arriving at Mount. Elgon, the

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leader of LB group, demonstrated to the school girls, above age 13 having their puberty, the importance and usage of sanitary pads. The girls were apparently shy, giggling, and they seldom responded to the questions. However, once the voluntourist greeted them in Swahili, the intimacy and trust were built, the girls described to us about the rags, the clothes, and the mattress they used as pads. In the demonstration afterward, the voluntourist was given full liberty to cooperate with the seed teacher of LB and grouped to assist the women and girls making their reusable sanitary pads.

The summarized feedbacks from the voluntourists while teaching on site was the habitual actions the recipients were used to, which led to the difficulties for them to learn in the way voluntourists want them to. “It is harder to teach the students for they don’t know how to sew and use scissors. Even I have taught them at the beginning, they make the same mistake afterward,” as mentioned by VT1, with VT2 adding another viewpoint “also found that they are not good at using tools, such as pointing the scissor at someone and using their teeth to cut the thread.”

The voluntourists also posed the criticism for the trained seed teachers not professional enough to teach the students in the “organized” way, as VT1 stated:

“I think we should have one-on-one tutoring for the seed teachers and teach them how to choose the right materials for pads because I do not agree with some of the teacher’s inefficient way of teaching. However, I see some of the community women are skillful and eager to learn. They should be trained as the seed teacher too,”

In particular, VT3 added that constant revisit to ensure accountability, such as

“visiting each school at least twice to view their progress,” if necessary; while other two voluntourists addressed more feasible solutions:

“we supervise those who work hard to learn and those who don’t when handing out the completed pads as a gift. Also, we choose different size of the

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pads depends on the students’ figure; however, I found that most of the pads made by Taiwanese tend to be too small for the Kenyans. So we have suggested to the group leader of possible adjustment in the future.”

Being passionate about helping others is an underlying motive for the voluntourist to choose to volunteer abroad or at home, which is the quality seen by the researcher on the voluntourists and the organization staff. Grassroots, community-based, and nongovernmental organizations of laypeople can foster voluntourists’ expectations of participating in the whole procedure. Therefore, transparency of such organization is emphasized much by the participants. The role of the voluntourists seemed to be seeking an efficient way for LB, or for organization alike, to cost down and provide some candidates they encounter to be trained as the seed teachers.

4.1.3 Voluntourists engagement in resource poor settings of improving health

在文檔中 台灣赴非志工旅遊之健康促進與反思-愛女孩計畫個案研究 - 政大學術集成 (頁 52-56)