Thursday, January 23, 2014

A "Real" Shanty Town Experience?

5 Star Shanty Town with wild animals!




The shanty town holiday where the rich pretend they are living like poor Africans (with running water, electricity, WI-FI)

A resort that allows rich tourists to pretend  they live like millions of impoverished Africans in ramshackle shanty towns has  been described as ‘poverty porn’.
Emoya Estate claims the collection of  corrugated metal huts on its five-star luxury game reserve gives holidaymakers  the chance to experience life in a shanty town in ‘a safe environment’.
However, unlike the genuine towns, tourists  at the resort are given conveniences such running water, electricity and even  Wi-Fi.
Tourists can pay to stay in an iron shack the mimics those lived in by millions of impoverished Africans

Read more at http://www.henrileriche.com/2013/11/20/the-shanty-town-holiday-where-the-rich-pretend-they-are-living-like-poor-africans-with-running-water-electricity-wi-fi/#tvY2cjvpJ56o8hEu.99




The shanty town holiday where the rich pretend they are living like poor Africans (with running water, electricity, WI-FI)

A resort that allows rich tourists to pretend  they live like millions of impoverished Africans in ramshackle shanty towns has  been described as ‘poverty porn’.
Emoya Estate claims the collection of  corrugated metal huts on its five-star luxury game reserve gives holidaymakers  the chance to experience life in a shanty town in ‘a safe environment’.
However, unlike the genuine towns, tourists  at the resort are given conveniences such running water, electricity and even  Wi-Fi.
Tourists can pay to stay in an iron shack the mimics those lived in by millions of impoverished Africans

Read more at http://www.henrileriche.com/2013/11/20/the-shanty-town-holiday-where-the-rich-pretend-they-are-living-like-poor-africans-with-running-water-electricity-wi-fi/#tvY2cjvpJ56o8hEu.99
Only looks like the real thing, these shacks have floor board heating and WiFi.
If you ever find yourself looking for a place to stay in Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State province of South Africa, you may want to try an overnight in Shanty Town.

Oh, this isn't a real shanty town, but a "faux experience" offered by Emoya Luxury Hotel and Spa for those curious about living in a corrugated shelter - with an outhouse and a drum for making a fire. By the way, it'll cost you about $80 a night for four people, without meals. The hotel states that the accommodation is completely child friendly. After all, this is how families living in slums and making a "normal living" are housed,

According to Emoyta's web site: Millions of people are living in informal settlements across South Africa. These settlements consist of thousands of houses also referred to as Shacks, Shantys or Makhukhus. A Shanty usually consists of old corrugated iron sheets or any other waterproof material which is constructed in such a way to form a small "house" or shelter where they make a normal living. A paraffin lamp, candles, a battery operated radio, an outside toilet (also referred to as a long drop) and a drum where they make fire for cooking is normally part of this lifestyle.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Show of Strength in India

While in Kolkata, India, visiting programs supported by Empower the Children (ETC), I was invited to a wonderful evening of music, dance and theater. The actors included children from the Preyrona vocational schools supported by ETC, as well as 'specially-abled' children from Prabartak Home. The 'children' from Prabartak are mentally or physically challenged, orphaned adults who find security, love and safety, a true 'home.' Their play concerned a princess who was captured by demons just before her wedding. She is taught how to fight and defend herself by a helpful woman in the demons' realm. She is able to save herself and others - a true role model for today's modern women.

The children from the vocational school performed a play with themes ripped from the headlines of Indian newspapers. One story involved maids demanding better pay and work hours, their leader a feminist from the community. The second theme was that of dowry. A young woman's wedding approaches and she is urged to not give in to dowry demands - after all, asking for dowry is illegal in India. The bride's mother-in-law is at first shocked when her son's new wife arrives without the long list of gifts she had requested. The mother-in-law soon sees the error of her ways and the play ends with a happy daughter in-law free of dowry commitments! Jai ho!

Below are a few scenes from both performances. The sets were beautifully constructed and the actors magnificent in their roles. Bravo!

For more stories on Empower the Children, visit:

Volunteer India
Planting an Urban Garden in India

The demons are defeated!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Planting an Urban Garden in India

I am back in Kolkata lending a hand at Empower the Children. It was so good to meet up with Reena and Ashit, teachers at the Preyrona Schools. Another volunteer, Roisin, is organizing an urban garden. We bought seeds and plants a few days ago. Yesterday, the children potted the seeds - green beans -  and when they grow big enough the plants will be transferred to newly installed cement troughs on the patio of the school. After the potting project we spent some time working on a mural. It will take more time to complete the painting, all under Roisin's guidance, but I'm sure it will be beautiful when finished!

Choosing the soil composition.