Foreigners Spoil Cultures
I am a foreigner, as a world traveler I come as a visitor to foreign countries. I am American, it is manifest destiny, and it is our right to change the world by spreading the American Dream.
“Can you accept people & cultures just the way they are? “
Kirt in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 23, 2000
I want to be a responsible tourist, I take responsibility for my actions, and the destruction of environments and cultures in my wake. I know they build Hotels in the jungle and it is my fault, and slowly and forever destroy the rain forest.
I am in Natitingou, Benin West Africa Today.
There is a man from France here in Benin, West Africa visiting, and he watches me make videos, just yesterday he said,
“The NGO should pay you to stop making videos about them.”
(Non Governmental Agencies.)
I truly enjoy making videos of them drinking, carousing, and driving their huge Toyota Land Rovers around as if they were special. I do my best to take photos of Peace Corps girls buying beer and liquor with their boyfriends.
Rio de Janiero, Brazil
I always remember the haunting words of Kirt, an American I met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“Can you accept people & cultures just the way they are?”
Kirt in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 23, 2000
Wow, that was 13 years ago, maybe 50 countries back, I have come a long way, and Kirt’s words still are ringing in my brain. Thank you Kirt, you changed my life.
Kirt was an American, who just finished a two year stint as a Peace Corps worker in Ecuador. This man worked for two years believing he was helping people, which is noble. However, this quote from Kirt tells the story, after two years, he asked me,
“Andy, can you accept other cultures?”
Andy Graham is Opinionated
Now, the long-term readers know that I am, Andy Graham, an opinioned bastard that writes what I think in this travel Blog, and I have done so for over 14 years, and I will continue to do so.
So here is a Peace Corp worker who was promoting the idea, suggesting to me with a challenge,
“Andy, do you need to change cultures?”
“Andy, can you accept other cultures just the way they are?”
Of course, it is impossible to be a Saint, I am not delusional, and refuse to blow wind up your skirt. And, what can I do, I will never change the world, I also have to ask myself,
“Andy, can you accept the American culture, your culture just the way it is, or do you want to change it?”
Yes, I want to change my own culture for the better, and it would be nice to make life better for people of the world.
I suppose it is best to keep my cultural footprint small.
Please, do not send American Rappers to Africa, and President Obama, get your butt over here, be a face, a talking head, and stop being the normal American Black that is ashamed of Africa, come and celebrate the place; it is a great here, not something to deny or feel sorry for, I am in just another normal country on the planet.
My President, you can change Africa; give them pride, give the hope of being thought as equals, not lessors. I am quite sure you are destroying the USA at home.
Laughing out Loud
All a writer does is try to change the world; I spend every day of my life trying to change the masses. But, I also spend everyday of my life, remembering I am a foreigner here, I am a visitor, and I have no right to change the locals.
I think it is an inalienable right, that all men should be left in peace unless they request help, proactive social intervention is a violation of their rights as a humans. I have no right to enter their home, and tell them to change.
This is all fun stuff, things to think about, but I hope you never meet a man like Kirt, with ideas like that; it would change your life forever.
Thanks Kirt, I suspect your cultural wake is a good one, you left your footprints inside my head. Gee, what a foreign idea, to travel to foreign land, and accept them as they are, and not try to change people. America, where we are told every day of our lives we are special, and the American way is best, and it probably is, for America. Volunteers and Missionaries need castrated, so they cannot spread their seed.. LOL
WARNING: Recording these videos is extremely dangerous. Do not record this type of video naively. The locals driving these cars will protect their GREAT job violently, and the local politicians, and other players want the free money, status, and all the benefits. Please be warned, you are not in Kansas, this is international corruption I am filming, not do gooders.
Just a thought here Andy.
I don’t know if you have been to or intend to go to some of the African countries that have many problems. Dictators, tribes killing each other, Islamic problems, extreme poverty, etc. Even the ones which seem stable can change for the worse overnight in Africa.
You say you have no right to change them.
I disagree as people with a decent education (that doesn’t apply only to college) and a sense of humanity and responsibility should, when appropriate/possible do what little they can. I don’t mean for anyone to get all radical about it or put themselves in danger, but at times we can make a difference regardless how small it may be.
I was fortunate while living in China, only as a traveler and husband, not anyone of great importance, business or political was asked to give a poetry reading at a local establishment frequented by college students.
I was in the process of writing poems about my trips to China, 3 all together over 2 1/2 years. It was really a great and humbling experience for various reasons.
My poems both celebrated the ancient culture, the new growing business culture, the massive amount of education taking place, the still poverty of the country and of course the ecological problems confronting China.
At the end of my reading the questions were fantastic that so many asked. Their curiosity of not only America but Western Europe and Japan was wonderful.
They were a fantastic group of mostly college students but also some older people and as I was told before I started, “Be careful not to read or say anything really controversial about the military or government as there are sure to be some in the audience.”
I did skirt this area as I’m not stupid, again my wife and her family could have serious problems.
Still I did answer questions truthfully but again did not discuss the military or government in any negative manner.
My point being from what many said to me was that I felt I “may have” changed some thinking of some of these young students. I told them things where they had many false ideas about the U S and Europe and corrected as best as I could, they were very appreciative.
China at some point, hopefully, will be changing even more in the future at possibly becoming freer. Who knows for sure but they are on their way.
Many UN "volunteers" are paid hundreds of dollars per day in per diems. Forget helping the people... they help themselves to the rich USAID, RED CROSS, UNDP, and other NGOs. Don't give money to these parasites.
Your tax dollar or tax deductible dollar pays for high spending, partying, self-proclaimed humanitarian. They in fact, do very little to help people in their service areas, and OFTEN harm the people they claim to help. Charlatans!