Why Community Engagement Is Important When You Travel
Many times you will see amazing and beautiful photos of wild animals and landscapes on social media that your friends or family might have taken on their trips to Africa, however how many times do you see photos of them engaging with the local communities? Out of all the experiences I had with my past trips to Uganda, it has always been the engagement with the local communities that filled my heart the most.
This trip was no different. My friend, Venex of Rwenzori Safaris’ being my guide, knew the ins and outs of the Rwenzori Mountain area as he grew up there. The Rwenzori Mountains are a mountain range located between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo; the people are known as the Bukonzo and the name Rwenzori refers to the people of the moon.
Not only did we get to view places off the beaten track, such as the Semuliki Hot Springs and the Caves at Amabere ganyinamwiru (to be described in a future post) but I was lucky enough to have the Ruboni Tribe sing and dance for me, high in the mountains, where you can see the snow-capped peak called the Margarita.
The Ruboni Tribe live in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains and performed their local dance and sang their local songs, which have meaning about the people of the moon.
I took many photos inside with very dim lighting and then outside as the sun was going down. Finally I put down my camera and got another dance lesson – which was very different from the way they danced at UKC Uganda. Again, different tribes will express themselves and distinguish themselves from each other through the way they dance and sing.
I also met a local Bakonzo woman, who makes pottery and woven goods in her small shop at the family home. Below is a photo of her son, who is holding up a stethoscope that is still used in many villages as they don’t have regular doctors like you and I do. In many villages, they still rely on natural medicines that come from what they grow or medicine and treatment that were used hundreds of years ago.
I also got to see the hardships of the people; for instance there were the people (as young as 5 years old) that crush rocks all day, every day in the mountain ranges, just to make a living; the farmers, who tend to their coffee crops, hoping that the rains the sun or the insects don’t ruin the crop before they get to pick them; the ladies who sit on the ground all day planting new saplings before the rainy season; the school kids who walk alone on the side of the busy roads going to and from school (if they are the lucky ones to get to go to school as education is not free).
Coming from a rich world, even though I am from Uganda, it was very hard for me to take it all in.
Community Engagement becomes even more important when you know and understand that through your travels and explorations, your participation, your photos and your stories make a difference for these people.
On our tour to Uganda, not only will you get to see all the beauty of the country but you will get to engage with the locals in many areas of Uganda.
You will come home with amazing photos and stories to tell as you engage with the wonderful people of Uganda.
Learn more at https://www.triplefphototours.ca
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