Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Relationship between tourist and local in Fiji
I want to write something about my thoughts and questions about the relationship between visitors and local people in Fiji because I do sense there are many confusing and contradictory positions. Sometimes there's a love of the 'exotic' by the visitor, a know-all attitude by visitors based on stereotyping. At other times there are misunderstandings by different ways of speaking or manners.
Sometimes there is exploitation - by either side. Theft of articles that belong to the tourist is one. Another is asking them for too much - gifts for the village, money, help with immigration matters. I've heard many stories of tourists from Australia developing a relationship with a village or family and they are asked to give outrageous sums of money in an on-going relationship. Opportunism works both ways.
Anyway, to start the ball rolling here is a picture of Apenisa, Tui Mali, receiving a gift of books for a primary school in Mali Island. It looks good, but I've been told that some visitors to Vorovoro -in the tribewanted scheme, and despite the positive media stories - do not always pay the locals adequately for their time and work. Also, are books for a school library more important than getting the electricity working? It's worth a look at the tribewanted website to the tribe blog link to read articles that have been published about the project. They are based on short visits to Vorovoro Island. It would be good to read an article written by a Mali Islander as well.
More to come later....