Ways of Impacting Lives – Adding Meaning to your Safari in Uganda
A Safari with Meaning – Impacting the Lives of Ugandans by empowering them
Impacting Lives – Adding Meaning to your Safari in Uganda. A Safari in Uganda is more than Wildlife, Primates, and Stunning Scenery it includes meaningful cross-cultural people encounters with ordinary people that call Uganda their home.
It is about impacting lives and creating new friendships with people of other cultures and traditions, all a part of adding Meaning and lasting Memories to your Safari. This is especially true about Family Safaris with children.
Impacting Lives – Adding Meaning to your Safari in Uganda. From when you land to when you leave, your presence here as a visitor to Uganda affects African lives and families. You may not realize it, but tourism and visitors to Uganda contribute thousands of dollars to the Ugandan economy, impacting and changing the lives of ordinary Ugandans.
On your arrival, you are greeted by Ugandan staff, Ugandans unload your luggage, the Immigration and Customs officials, and the driver guide awaiting you outside of the terminal all have jobs because of people such as yourself visiting Uganda.
The Hotel where you spend your first night and its employees, from wait staff to the reception – from the cook to the one who carries the luggage to your room would have no work without you visiting Uganda or Rwanda. Tourism is one of the best income sources for Uganda or Rwanda. Still, beyond dollars, beyond Euros, beyond numbers, it is the lives of ordinary Ugandans that are somehow touched by you visiting their country. A fact that eludes most visitors.
Tourism impacts the lives of Ugandans.
Does tourism change Ugandan lives? The answer is a resounding yes – first, there is voluntourism – or volunteerism. Most visitors to Uganda fall into that category where they come to Africa and are involved in projects from medical care to building a house for an orphanage and many other things.
Such projects impact Ugandan communities – schools, hospitals, villages, slums, and one could go on and on – Voluntourism changes lives – thousands come each year to Uganda or Rwanda, directly impacting African Lives.
Bwindi Community Hospital today is Uganda’s best equipped and staffed rural Hospital. Started by Doctor Kellerman and his wife the hospital has drastically reduced the infant mortality rate, the death of mothers giving birth, and increased the life expectancy, especially for those belonging to the Batwa Community who are conservation refugees. Gorilla tourists from around the world specifically ask to visit it and their contributions impact the lives of the local community.
Visitors to Uganda contribute to the economy every time they stay in a hotel, lodge, or tented camp – each time they eat in a restaurant – each time they leave a tip in a country that has mostly a non-tipping culture – it may not seem a lot – but a dollar or two in Ugandan shilling makes a difference in the life of an African.
Most Visitors who go on a safari tour do not realize that their presence – their visit to its Wildlife Parks – their purchases of crafts such as carvings, baskets, batiks, paintings, and musical instruments contribute to the well-being of another African family.
Cultural Visits to villages and the purchase of locally made arts and crafts once again impact the life of a Ugandan family, so take it easy bargaining down to a low price but see it as an investment in the person that you are dealing with – an investment that empowers.
When it comes to those visitors to Uganda who go on Safari may not realize it. Still, the entrance fees into parks, the gorilla permits, the chimpanzee permits, the volcano climbing, the golden money tracking, and all the other garden activities affect the communities surrounding the various parks.
The Park Authorities in Uganda distribute a portion of annual park entrance fees to those communities. The money has been used to build classrooms for the school, toilets, health centers, housing for teachers, irrigation projects, community centers, road construction and improvements, tree planting, trenches to prevent wildlife from encroaching villages, goat rearing projects, and more.
This has made life easier for communities surrounding the parks – one of the best things that more mothers have delivered their children in medical centers erected due to the revenue sharing by the government.
Many of the lodges that you may stay in a while in various parks hire residents as cooks, wait staff, receptionists, cleaners, and even local entertainers for the guests at multiple lodges – take the porters who may carry your things as you go gorilla tracking – they make more in a year than the average civil servant will earn, the Rangers who take you on birding walks or game drives – can pay for school fees for their children, build a home, and more. Tourism empowers many people living in the communities neighboring the national parks by selling crafts, and cultural performances, increasing employment opportunities with tour companies and lodges and even becoming a ranger in Uganda or Rwanda.
Some of our Clients have formed ongoing relationships with Ugandan organizations such as schools, self-help, and women empowerment projects when they returned to their home country.
Pack to make a difference – you can even pack some things such as books, deflated (soccer) footballs, some stinydolls, crayons, and coloring books and make a difference in a child’s life along with your Safari (journey).
Your visit to Africa makes a difference – inadvertently, your presence, your money spent makes you a change agent –someone who impacts the lives of others, and your visit will impact many a life – most of all your own and the lives of your family on a Safari with Children.
Ways to create a Safari with Meaning in Uganda that impacts Lives
- Purchase some of the great local art and souvenirs – in this way. You assist Ugandans in providing for their families. There are many talented artists in Uganda producing beautiful items that can grace your home and, at the same time, benefit a family in Uganda. There are tribal textile items in villages such as Boomu, where they weave beautiful bedspreads and other things, creative baskets such as the ones found in the village of Ruboni in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, Carvings of all kinds located in many places, jewelry, paintings, beautiful batiks, musical instruments including drums of various sizes, the list is endless – find out how the item was made and who made it. Your purchases will touch someone’s life in a most meaningful manner.
- Raise some funds that you can give to an orphanage, needy family, or a village project in Uganda. This can be done by having an African Movie night before your departure – there are some lovely films found – from documentaries to classic movies such as “Gorillas in the Mist.” Talk about your upcoming trip and how you would like to impact an orphanage, school, or community in Uganda. Have a garage sale and sell items raising funds to touch Ugandan lives.
- Pack some books, especially children’s books. Uganda, for the most part, is a non-reading culture. You will find DVD rental shops everywhere, but not many bookstores – people might have one book in their home, such as the Bible or the Koran but little else. Children grow up without the gift of imagination being released, no books to dream about for a better future and tomorrow.
- Purchase some Soccer Balls. They are usually deflated, lightweight, and easily packed into a suitcase. You will find children here using plastic bottles instead of a soccer ball, and your gift will touch a child in a most meaningful way.
- There are many meaningful ways to impact the local community, enrich them, and allow you to take part in the process of instilling hope where there is none.
Always move from the Spirit of Compassion and never out of Pity – Pity is demeaning and leaves guilt behind with those who receive.
Impacting Lives on Safari in Uganda – Give Presence and not just Presents
More than gifts, more than tips, more than financial assistance is for Tourists to give the gift of their personal presence to those that they meet. Not in the spirit of pity but out wanting to get to know a person from a different culture than yours.
Everything in Uganda is relational and that is where your presence is. Hear their story as they want to hear yours. Bring pictures of your family, of your home. Ask about their family and their hopes and aspirations.
In giving your presence you recognize them as equals. Your presence gives a sense of dignity. Your presence evokes trust and communication begins to flow.
Cultural mistakes will be committed but they are quickly forgiven. Put aside any temptation to be the Bwana knows best person. Do not bring up your cultural norms as they will only become a relational roadblock.
Impacting Lives – Adding Meaning to your Safari in Uganda – If you have a question – don’t hesitate to contact us.