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2022-06-13 13:55:06

Why do people tend to travel to favelas, slums and other unfavorable places?

Why do people tend to travel to favelas, slums and other unfavorable places?

Some people go abroad to explore old palaces, castles, others are interested in natural resources, and still others serve gastrotourism. There are those who travel in the name of love adventures, in search of God or other great purposes.

Among these countless destinations, the so-called dark tourism stands out. We are talking about places of interest, in one way or another associated with death. Most often these are places of battles, former concentration camps or places of murder, mass executions. Along with trips to Auschwitz or Chernobyl, which can hardly be considered entertainment, there are places where evil is happening before our eyes. And is it any wonder that such locations also attracted the attention of travelers?

Palestinian refugee camps

Before World War I, the lands where Palestine and Israel are located were under ottoman rule. They lost the war, and their possessions were divided between the British and the French, and both countries, sandwiched between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, went to the British - moreover, for a while.

Since the end of the 30s, the situation began to heat up. Jews and Arabs competed for resources, chief among which were water and land. The British tried to solve the problem for a while, but in 1947 they cowardly fled. 2 million people, 600,000 Jews and three times as many Arabs were left alone with their fear and hatred.

The UN tried to solve the problem of dividing the disputed land into two states. The Arabs opposed this, although the Jews were in favor. The result of the short-lived war was the proclamation of the Jewish state in May 1948. On the same day, the first Arab-Israeli war began, as a result of which the young state acquired its current outlines, and the Arabs received a hat. The "remnants" of Palestine were picked up by Egypt and Jordan, and seven hundred thousand Arabs were forced to leave their homes and settled in camps along the border.

After the war ended, the UN decided that refugees had the right to return if they wanted – or to receive compensation. In practice, this has been difficult to implement. Five million people now live in 58 camps, many of whom have not seen Palestine in their eyes, but are still considered refugees.

If in the first years it was about tent cities, now it is about full-fledged and good housing by Middle Eastern standards, where communications are summed up. Infrastructure, however, is still lacking, and this is most noticeable in those of the camps that are stationed beyond the Palestinian borders (here the Arabs of Palestine have many times fewer rights than their comrades with a national passport).

For a while, it is not difficult to be in the shoes of a refugee. For example, you can stay in one of these apartments using the Airbnb service. There are countless tour companies that conduct tours of refugee quarters. For example, most sightseeing tours of Bethlehem include a camp and a fragment of the dividing fence that serves as a wall between the Arab and Jewish quarters of the city.

Another accessible for inspection and literally stuffed with refugees settlement is Kalandia, which is near Ramallah. To get here from old Jerusalem, it will take only an hour of time – if you add to the travel time what is necessary for inspections and checks. There are often shootings between Arabs and members of the Israel Defense Forces.

Slums of Mumbai

Another option is slum neighborhoods. The most famous among them is Dharavi, which enjoys a reputation as the most densely populated. From half a million to one and a half million people live here, mainly Tamils, who moved here from the south-eastern part of the country. They began to settle here at the time when the city was called Bombay and served as one of the capitals of British India. Countless films about slum life are shot here, as well as some Bollywood masterpieces.

Locals, noting the increased interest in their land, quickly organized tours. The oldest firms have been taking people to this god-cursed place for 14 years. According to the guides, 4/5 of the proceeds are sent to the needs of local communities. There is a possibility that this is just an excuse to unload the tourist for a larger amount than he expected. But if that's the case, you're not only staring at life at the bottom of life, but you're also helping these people.

There are quite a lot of companies, but the programs and routes are about the same for everyone. The advice is to pay attention to those that show the huts of local residents or their crafts. In some cases, it is also suggested to have lunch with local residents.

Almost all local tours are associated with a number of restrictions.

  • For example, guides forbid taking photos inside the districts. According to them, in order not to cause inconvenience to the aborigines. If you want to have a photo card for memory, you should contact the guide, and he will send the pictures to the e-mail or offer to buy souvenirs with the view of local inhabitants.
  • Some guidebooks recommend not to wrinkle the physiognomy in places where there is ambergris or smoke - so as not to offend the thin mental structure of the locals.

By the way, slum dwellers have one striking difference from other Hindus: they do not tend to beg for money or deceive travelers. And the view of the camera does not cause a negative - on the contrary, the locals are not averse to being captured in a photograph.

If you want to look at impenetrable poverty and misery, then you should not go to Dharavi. Guides often call this place slums of the class of five stars. Of course, not everything is so rosy: one toilet here for several dozen dwellings, but the houses are very clean and tidy, and the streets are no different from those on which you walk outside the ghetto.

Artisans work here. On the first floors of the houses there are hundreds of tiny workshops in different profiles - from locksmith and welding to sewing, leather, there are artels of garbage collectors. Second floors are reserved for housing.

In addition, there are in Dharavi and attributes of the usual European life such as cafeterias, playing fields for cricket or softball, even several museums.

Favelas of Rio de Janeiro

Translated from the state for Brazil Portuguese, the word "favela" means slums. The history of the appearance of these spontaneous quarters is the same as in other countries - they were inhabited by villagers who fled to large cities. This continued for almost the entire twentieth century, so now there are more than 10 million inhabitants in these spontaneous slums.

Among the countless favelas, the most popular among travelers is Santa Marta, or Donna Marta. Her popularity is due to the fact that the quarter lit up in the video for Michael Jackson's song "They Don't Care About Us".

The favelas of Brazil enjoy a reputation as a place where a person can part with money, and in return get a knife or bullet wound. However, then after the visit of Michael Jackson, another life began. The film crew of the pop idol from the United States agreed with the drug mafia, and the place became popular with American, and then European travelers.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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