As a school in the slum district, we often look around us and see the squalour, the deprivation and the neglect and these are important things for the rural members of the Chrysalis School to be aware of, when they report back to their villages. But today, Saturday morning, the sun was shining, the rubbish had been collected, the place was quieter than usual, the people smiling and inquisitive, the kids playing and I was reminded of a concept business we have been talking about, since Henry Male (12) and Nicky Abonga (13, at the time) came up with the idea.
They developed a video tour of this slum district, showing some of the highlights and meeting some of the people of the Quarter. Unfortunately, I think this video has been sadly lost, but it planted the seed of an idea…
Is it too adventurous to ask most visitors/tourists to Uganda to experience some of the negatives of a country, as well as the positives? The Acholi Quarter can be a beautiful place. We are surrounded by hills, with a picturesque variety of buildings that we captured last year in our “Imagine us Here” Art project for children from slum districts in Kampala. We discovered a lot of new talents there and you can see some of the pictures painted in this gallery – http://goo.gl/Eql2i – but one I always feel is evocative of Imagine us Here. The closeness of the buildings, the variation, the lack of planning, the chaos – all provides quite an insight into life in this slum district.
So, the idea we jointly came up with was to offer Slum Adventure Tours, where people of any age, with some strong waterproof shoes can climb through the alleys of the slums, meet the people and children who live there, visit some beautiful photo-opportunity sites, see the people working in the quarries and essentially realise the life people here are living. For some this will be an eye-opener and perhaps the most memorable part of their visit to Uganda. For others it will inspire them to take some positive action to support slum-dwellers. For others, they might go away and try to forget. All, though, will be able to visit the Chrysalis School and Centre and visit the craft shop in our partners, Life in Africa.
Many of the children here have interesting stories to tell about their lives and frightening incidents that have happened to them. Also, they can talk about the cruelty that sometimes happens in their schools, where small children are punished for their parent’s inability to pay their school fees.
I’d welcome feedback on this idea at email@example.com and I guess it may end up being part of our business plan, when we have to submit it, if we receive a lot of positivity.