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Emily Hollands review 16 Jan 2006
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Being in a traditional village with no other tourists about and being near enough to get into the lovely nearby towns.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Bring mozzie repellent!!
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
I don't think it really benefited them but I will go home and tell others of the good time I had so it is good publicity maybe for them! It minimized environment impact yes.
4. Any other comments?
Yes one of the many benefits that should be mentioned more is that - although there are no restaurants, cafes or bars for a 20 minute radius, Jos's wife cooked us wonderful meals for dinnertime, Rs 200 each so very reasonable. And despite what you think 'homestay' means we did not get to see the family's quarters or eat with them but ate instead with the occupants of the other room. We met so many other travellers though so it was great. Americans, Norwegians, Belgians, Germans....and we got to hear all their experiences which was very enjoyable. **** although 2 weeks is maybe too long there
Read the operator's response here:
It is great to hear Emily and Tom overall had a good time and rated the Homestay with four stars.. About 80% of money I receive from the guests is spent locally. All the fish/prawn they ate are from local backwaters / fishermen and I buy everything from the local market. There is one woman worker to help my wife in the kitchen and a man to work in the coconut garden round the year. These two workers' families are totally depended on this homestay. I never use my private car to transfer guests to Fort Cochin area or places they wished. All the time I arranged a local rickshaw / neighbour's taxi, which the guests enjoyed very much and which benefited these drivers' families. The toddy taper, rat catcher, river sand collector, the man who iron the laundry with burning charcoal, other workers (during yearly maintenance of the house) are indirect beneficiaries..
Emily and Tom might have had a much better experience of local participation if they were ready to take any of the local activities which I had listed on arrival day. I felt they preferred to spend more time at Fort Cochin / Mattancheri town rather than getting involved in the local village life.
It was peak season time in early January with regular guests arrival and I agree about the failure of my family not to find time or feel comfortable to dine with all the guests each day. As mentioned there was a series of guests, Americans .....Germans and much work to do for everybody's comfortable stay including too much cooking in the family kitchen. The involvement to the family details / homestay experience also depend on guests initiative. Though they were very young people (couple/friends ) we felt they preferred more privacy and relaxation.