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Saints and Sinners: Voices of Kenyan women in the philanthropic tourism

Researcher: PD Dr. Angelika Mietzner, Bonciana Lisanza (Eldoret)

This project analyses narratives of women working in the extremely diverse tourism sectors of "philanthropic tourism" and "sex tourism".

Women who have found work in a social project in Tiwi, Kenya, are accompanied in their stories about their past, which usually stylises the founder of the project as a rescuer. Furthermore, songs that the women of this project recite during visits of tourists and also include the founder as an omnipresent savior are analysed in a discourse analysis.

On the other hand, Kenyan women who pursue prostitution on the touristic coast of Kenya tell their stories. Often incomprehensible stories suggest that the articulation of the traumatic heritage and transgression allows dealing with one's own history.

The narratives of both areas are part of a genre that is necessary to engage others, in this case, tourists, and get financial support. Power relationships dominate the meetings between the narrators and the listeners, which are continuously produced due to a dependency on both sides. The women venture the step out of invisibility into the visibility of precariousness, which can obviously be seen as a personal overcoming and which needs a variable that makes the tales easier: a saint or a sinner.