Today, I must say something very Specific on my mind, since I visited Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, India. Everything is magical about the place: the golden stone, the almost filigree work in the architecture, the palace, the sands, camels, sunrises to sunsets, and the perpetual golden haze that gives everything and every person a halo of fascination, for a tourist.
What stands in contrast to me, is little kids who seem to harass tourists for money, hotel or Safari packages, and so many things little, agile, street smart kids can be roped into, for ‘selling touristy attractions.’ They have figured out stories that evoke a financial donation from people from different countries, even speaking sentences in different foreign languages! And, they didn’t learn about persuasive skills in a writing class, but believe when I say that they are pretty persuasive.
To me, as an educator and a parent, is so wrong, for that is the age, kids need to be learning in school or at home. So I end up making it a teachable moment where I might interact with the child with respect after declining touristy packages. I ask child friendly questions, find out what they like best, or love to eat, or favorite hero. They giggle, feel shy, and speak like a child, surprised that someone cared. And, sometimes, if their interest allows, leave him/her with an amazing fact about animal, bird, or experiment on how things work, to ponder about.
For a person visiting another country for a week or two, what they see becomes the observed ‘culture’ and hard fact. Then maybe, they sympathize and give large amounts of money to help the kid. Would you give a money directly to a child in the home country, based on the sob-story they tell you? No?
Would you take a picture of another child or adult without permission? Would you allow strangers make money selling such images of your family on the net? No.
Right! You would take permission or offer to a parent, guardian, or agency. So please do the same on foreign soil. All children are the same and they deserve the security offered by known adults only.
Thank you for reading this. It was waiting restlessly for expression, and caring people like you🙂