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Giving vs. receiving

5th September 2012
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In this day and age we all work hard to make ends meet, dealing with daily responsibilities of balancing life and family as well as ensuring we also take time off for ourselves.

Whether one is self-employed or works for a firm, we all cherish a relaxing day off or even a good chunk of days that we could perhaps use for a holiday. Some save up to embark on a short or long haul destination in search of tranquility.

Once at our destination, or rather at the start of the holiday we have saved up to enjoy, we expect value for our money.

Our holidaymakers would probably have held out to us the promise of a certain level of experience, filling our minds with anticipation. Though, what the holidaymakers at times fail to underscore is that every tourist destination is someone else’s home, more or less the one we left behind.

An average human being cherishes and values their home, their culture and traditions, and would expect a visitor to do the same, to some extent.

So, when we jump onto that plane, ferry or hop in a car bound for somewhere, where we can to take that well deserved time off, we are actually in another “man’s land”, where the bulk of the population slogs just as hard to make ends meet and at times even harder where they would also look forward to a day off; if cash permits.

It is therefore essential that we think of where we go and whom our holidaymaker is sending us to. Yes, the people we would meet would be our driver, receptionist, housekeeper, waiter, valet and so on nonetheless they are the people of our holiday destination.

The people are always the ones who would leave an impression of the country visited. A country could have the best architecture, the most fascinating history, and breathtaking landscape, if however the people are cold and not hospitable, it would usually take a toll on the other attractions.

Therefore in exchange for our cash, we receive a service, yet, have we ever wondered as visitors that we could also give something back to the local communities we visit as our holiday destination?

Depending on where we travel there is probably going to be someone or some place that could do with a charitable hand.

Quite a few of us can spare some change or possibly buy some school supplies or even clothes that we could take with us and donate to the local school or orphanage where we would be visiting.

There is a famous but little known Swahili proverb:

“Mchamago hanyile, huenda akawiya papo ", meaning:

A traveller does not depart leaving a mess. He might one day return to the same destination.

This proverb has many meanings; one that I have found profound in my travels is to ensure that I leave a positive footprint wherever I go, and where possible.

Even if I might not be able to contribute towards material goods, I would ensure that I make the effort to at least be kind, polite and humble to the people who “serve” me during my stay with them.

That way, I can ensure that I can safely return one day as bridge builder of “two different worlds”, so they too would benefit from my presence.

Our hosts at our holiday destinations offer us hospitality in exchange for our money. Where we as travellers, can pay back in kindness for a well-deserved respite in their homelands.

After all, most of us the world over, work hard to make ends meet. It’s our common denominator!

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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