I went to Kenya and Tanzania on a National Geographic Journey with G Adventures tour. G Adventures, a Canadian travel company, supports community development projects in areas in which they do tours. In Tanzania, we visited a village where brick stoves and chimneys were being installed in homes by the Maasai Stoves and Solar Project. Before the installation of the cleans stoves, houses had no ventilation, and all the smoke from the cooking fires stayed inside, causing a variety of health problems. On most of our 14-day journey we were asked not to take pictures of the local people, who do not appreciate the constant cameras of tourists (except at tourist venues such as Maasai culture shows). In the village, however, we were invited to take photographs.
Meriku, the lovely woman who was having a stove installed, did not speak English but we connected with my few words of Swahili and her gracious hospitality. She was amazed at the camera on my cell phone. Our tour leader said that most villagers have never seen themselves because they generally don’t have mirrors. That will probably change with the spread of cell phones. We did see herders with phones but don’t know if they were smart phones or basic cell phones.