This post is hard for me to write, because the reality really saddens me.
First, a little lesson in racial vocabulary here in South Africa. There are basically 3 groups of people here (with terrible relationships historically)....and this is how they are referred to:
- White (Mainly Dutch & English)
- Black (Dark people from all over Africa)
- Coloured (Mixed race people with decent from Malaysia, Indonesia and Madagascar)
The community we are working in is called Masiphumelele and is made up of mainly Blacks. It is a Black township.
Today was another eye opener for me. I guess I never realized what a tourist attraction Masi is. This afternoon, I was leading a DBS (click HERE to read about what that is) on a roadside with 6 other people when a group of about 25 tourists came walking by. They were fascinated by all the poor people and the shacks. Then, they saw US! 3 White people sitting in a circle talking with 4 Black guys. The cameras really came out now. Why were we meeting with and talking to these (dangerous) black people?
In my opinion, South Africa has turned it's poverty into a tourist attraction. Groups come in droves to the local townships to stare at the Black people and poor people. Poverty is just something to be stared at by many wealthy people around the world!
It makes me sad, actually. Because I think that many missions teams that come do something quite the same. They come as ministry tourists I cannot help but wonder what would happen if we took all the money that the rich spend to to come stare, and used it to eradicate hunger and give people work? What if money was spent on something more fruitful than staring at the Black people?
What are your thoughts? Are wasted Kingdom resources delaying the fulfillment of the Great Commission?