God Help Rwanda!!!

Paris Hilton. Photo courtesy of http://thesuperficial.com/image.php?path=/2007/09/0926_paris_hilton_amfar_11.jpg

Just kidding!!!

I  thought my days of blogging about Paris Hilton were behind. I guess not. I just couldn’t resist weighing in on the latest news from this Hollywood denizen.

Parish Hilton, hieress and tabloid starlet—not to mention onetime internet pornstar—has announced her intention to travel to Rwanda on a humanitarian mission. I guess Paris figures she’ll get in on the celebrity humanitarianism action too. After all, Angelina Jolie’s been in the spotlight for her humanitarian work, especially since her appointment as UN Goodwill Ambassador.

I won’t pass judgement on Paris. She may genuinely be concerned about the plight of people of Rwanda and interested in lending a hand.

If that’s the case, I have some tips for her (I heard she’s a regular reader of this blog):

  1. If you don’t already speak French, it might be useful to learn some French phrases. Rwandans speak a bunch of other languages but you can usually get by with French. 
  2. Work directly with NGOs and people on the ground. Don’t give money to the government becausr a lot of aid money tends to end up in officials’ pockets.
  3. Be skeptical: poverty does not necessarily equate honesty so don’t trust people just because they’re poor. If you plan to directly fund an NGO, have your people look into which services they provide, to whom, and whether the services are actually delivered. Visit facilities, talk to the people being served, ask questions.
  4. Wear sneakers and comfortable clothes. Designer pumps and dresses are not the best combination for touring a tropical country recovering from war.
  5. Eat the food. It’s important to first build rapport with the people you hope to be “helping” and expressing disgust at their diet is no way to build rapport.
  6. What else? Oh, don’t use your planned visit as some kind of publicity stunt or the premise of a new reality show. That’s insensitive and exploitative.

Wouldn’t it be awesome of Paris could use her celebrity status to shine a light on some of the real problems facing Rwanda. Granted, Rwanda’s not as badly off as some other African countries (despite the civil war and genocide) but I’m sure there are plenty of families and children in need who could use some help.

I’ll have to wait and see whether Paris will be their salvation?

Read the full article here.

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