Agree to Disagree
Hi Bella, I'm planning a trip to Bolivia next year, but have already started looking for things to do. I have not read 'Marching Powder', but I have heard a lot about the prison and was very interested in visiting. I found your article online and I must tell you that I completely agree with what you're saying about disrespectful tourists. I have travelled to many places and I'm often disgusted by the behaviour of tourists - who are just guests in another country. Where is their respect and common courtesy?
Although I agree with you, and feel very sad for the innocent children involved, I would still like to visit the prison. I understand what you're saying about corruption and making the inamtes feel as though they're in a zoo, but I feel tourist visits are not as bad as you're implying.
I really admire your passion, but I feel that people seeing the way these inmates live are seeing what can happen if you do the wrong thing and the affect that could have on their own family. We are lucky in Australia in some ways. We don't have such inhumane conditions in our prisons, so I think for a lot of us a visit is just a way of seeing injustice and the sad reality of the judicial system in Bolivia.
I also like the idea of being able to give money to people who obviously need it - be paying for the tour. For me, I want to see how some children live and maybe one day return to help them in a really positive way.
Remember ignorance is NOT always bliss. People must see these things to make a difference. Only a few crazy people are taking advantage and making a bad name for other tourists. We are not all like that.
Thank you for a very informative article.