Scott Doggett
Reno, Nevada, U.S.A.
KiVis (29) Comments (7) Likes (77) Views (108757)
I co-founded Kind Visitor with my wife Susan Englen and pals Stephen Myers and Michael Lenert. Previously, I wrote travel guides for Lonely Planet and news articles for the Los Angeles Times.
Words That Move Me

While standing in line with my wife to enter a concert, a young couple in front of us learned that smartphone images of the tickets they bought online were inadmissible. They needed paper tickets to get in.  "You should have printed out your tickets and brought them," a ticket-taker told them. "I don't make the rules. I just follow them." The twentysomethings looked at...Read More

A pretty girl living in rural Mexico meets a man who promises her a good life in a big city. But once in the big city, the man forces the girl to submit to the sexual depravity of countless men.   This is the typical history of the women at Casa Xochiquetzal in Mexico City, the only retirement home specifically for former sex slaves in Latin America. The shelter has helped...Read More

Love is a mystery, so the saying goes. Perhaps. But there's nothing mysterious about kindness. Kindness is a magnet that attracts the nicest people. Kindness brings out the best in us.   I say that without a sliver of doubt, because it's been my experience that no matter where my travels take me I always encounter someone eager to help me "do my thing." And...Read More

To say the street dogs of Cusco, Peru, are plentiful is like saying the Himalayas are hilly. The dogs are everywhere. All need food and some need medical attention. Perhaps no one in Cusco is more aware of the dogs' needs than Mayte Carreno Flores (pictured). Mayte was 16 when "a dog collided with a car," as Mayte put it. Mayte brought the animal home and nursed it back to health....Read More

The government of Peru freely dispenses HIV drugs to Peruvian children infected with the AIDS virus, which is good, but it doesn't provide the kids with healthy food or a healthy environment or help anyone who helps the kids in those ways, which is shameful. It's why the Hogar de Vida—Home of Life, a shelter for HIV-infected children in Lima—exists. Without a healthy diet...Read More

Geraldo was 91 when social workers found him living alone in a tin shack in southern Brazil, dirt for a floor, no water or food in sight. Now 96, the former laborer is served three meals a day, sleeps in a bed and is alone only when he chooses to be. Geraldo is one of 40 residents of Lar dos Velhinhos, the Home for Greybeards, a nursing facility in Foz do Iguaçu. The city of...Read More

Every day, rain or shine, a veritable army of 15,000 people leave the slums of Buenos Aires to scour the fashionable boulevards of Argentina’s capital for recyclables discarded by the city’s wealthy residents. Theirs is a filthy, physically demanding job, requiring that the recyclers (known locally as cartoneros) push car-sized carts up and down busy streets and sidewalks...Read More

Muscular Dystrophy is a group of diseases that cripple and kill kids, and in the highlands of poverty-stricken Peru, MD seems as prevalent as the raindrops that frequently drench the heartland of the ancient Incan Empire. The luckiest of the area's MD-afflicted children "only" struggle to walk. The unluckiest, including the boys pictured here, have skeletal deformities and severe...Read More

Up to half of all of the food produced in the world is thrown away, according to the United Nations. That's 448,000,000,000,000 pounds of food in a single year, much of it edible restaurant leftovers. I hate that waste, which is why I routinely take my leftovers instead of letting a waiter toss them. That's especially true when I'm visiting a poor country. Why? Because I can...Read More

Dogs freeze to death in El Calafate, Argentina, every winter, when seasonal workers leave the Patagonian town and abandon the puppies they bought at the start of tourist season. Collisions with automobiles kill many a Calafate canine. Other dogs there lap up antifreeze spilled by clumsy motorists; it only takes a tablespoon to kill. Watercolor, the beautiful shepherd pictured...Read More

With its train service to Machu Picchu, Cusco is the Peruvian gateway city to the famous Incan ruins. At the heart of Cusco is a splendid plaza ringed with Spanish colonial buildings and lawns strewn with friendly street dogs. My wife and I had intended to find a cafe from which we could sip tea and gaze upon the plaza, with its splendid architecture, picturesque indigenous people...Read More

Sometimes a potential kindness partner walks right up and introduces himself. Such was the case with Bernardo as my wife and I sipped coffee at a cafe in Ajijic, Mexico.   Sporting a chin crevassed with scars, a lopsided nose and gold-rimmed teeth, Bernardo approached us with his right palm slightly outstretched. It cradled cheap but attractive golden bracelets.   After...Read More

Twenty-four lions rescued from a deplorable place in Idaho. Two grizzly cubs left motherless by a rifleman in Montana. Forty chimpanzees plucked from the hell of biomedical research labs. These are but some of the 76,000 abused, abandoned, orphaned or injured animals taken in by the Wildlife Waystation since 1976. Located in Sylmar, California, the Wildlife Waystation provides...Read More

Something was wrong. The mother mahogany trees were gone. The year: 1996. The place: wooded hills beside a road that linked several villages in western Panama. My taxi driver and I stopped at one village and asked what had happened to the giant trees that should have been present. Men from Panama City came and paid $50 for each of the mother mahogany trees, we were told. The...Read More

I buy art as often as I drink pale ale, which isn't often. But after telling me thrice to visit Creativity Explored, an art studio and gallery in San Francisco supporting people with developmental disabilities in their quest to become working artists, my sister Victoria finally got me to go. I loved the place the minute we walked through the door. Located in the Mission District,...Read More

“What happened to your leg?” I asked. Our guide glanced at his prosthetic limb. Susan Englen, my partner in life and travel and a nurse by profession, noticed the pride on his face and complimented the leg’s craftsmanship. He nodded, and showed us how it worked. Conversation is one of travel’s great pleasures. Sometimes a casual chat can bring about significant change....Read More

It was the sombrero that caught my eye. You could blot out the sun with that thing, I thought. Then I noticed the bony man beneath it, his back to me as one of his arms hung at his side and the other made furtive plunging movements. He turned, revealing a scraggly mustache and a bandaged forehead. Also visible now was the object of his attention a moment earlier: one of the garbage...Read More

I was 24 and sitting alone in a cantina in Ensenada, Mexico, when a trio of mariachis took me for an easy mark, saddled up to my table and belted out “Cerca Del Mar,” “El Reloj” and “Amor Amor.” The lyrics were Greek to me but I knew the voices of all-powerful gods when I heard them. Could these men sing! The songs stirred my soul like Zeus’s wand. I wanted to remember...Read More

During the Spanish colonization of the Americas—from 1492 to 1898—Spaniards set down a system of racial hierarchy as real in Latin America today as it was centuries ago. In Mexico, this means that the greater a person's Spanish heritage (as evidenced by the whiteness of his or her skin), the higher his or her status in Mexican society. Conversely, the darker a person's features,...Read More

Mercury in the bottom fish of Lake Chapala in central Mexico has produced a high incidence of brain damage among area children. Many of the special-needs kids are treated as objects of shame by their muy macho fathers, written off as losses from birth and kept out of sight. Others spend their youth in regular schools, where they learn lots about how cruel kids can be toward slow...Read More

The girls at La Ola Casa Hogar are safe now. Established in 2010 by a retired American doctor and his nurse wife, the shelter in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Mexico, is a love-filled home to more than 20 girls who had been neglected, orphaned or raped by family members. On a sunny day not long ago, some of the youngsters played on swing sets, the weather still too cool for the swimming...Read More

Lake Tahoe is one of the largest, deepest and clearest lakes in the world. But the water’s clarity is under attack. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that since 1968, the lake’s deep-water clarity has been reduced by approximately 30%, from 100 feet to 66 feet. Scientists blame the change on algae fed by man-made pollution carried by storm runoff, as well...Read More

I’ve got nothing against Mexican music. Indeed, when it comes to love ballads, those sung in Spanish pluck my heartstrings better than any songs sung in my native English. But as a five-week stay in Mexico neared an end, how wonderful it was to sip coffee at an outdoor cafe in Ajijic and hear "My Favorite Things," "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," "Take Five" and other jazz...Read More

Some were blind. Some were deaf. Some were crazy. All were frail, homeless and hungry before reaching Ancianitas de Santa Clara de Asis (Old Ladies of Santa Clara of Assisi), a shelter for destitute women on the edge of Lake Chapala in central Mexico. Two Franciscan sisters run the shelter.   During my visit in 2016, most of the 25 ladies under the sisters' care possessed...Read More

With few exceptions, dogs in Mexico are used for guarding property or for wager fighting. They are rarely valued for companionship. As a result, dog abuse is rampant in Mexico. One need not spend much time in the country to see it. Gudrun Jones saw it, when she and her husband, Dryden, retired to Chapala, Mexico, from the USA nearly two decades ago. What she saw moved her to...Read More

My wife and I pulled open the door of the taxi van that had delivered us to the Thanh Xuan Peace Village, near Hanoi, Vietnam, and one look at the assistant director’s face told us we'd been right to come bearing gifts. A receptionist at the hotel where my wife and I were staying told us about the center and informed us that visitors were welcome—especially ones donating...Read More

The homes my wife and I glimpsed through our taxi's window had been cobbled together with scrap-wood walls, frayed thatch roofs and plank floors. Outside, Cambodian villagers hunched over hoes, cultivating dirt patches so spent that the bean and sweet potato plants seemed too tired to try.   We were returning from a temple and asked our driver to pull to the side of the road...Read More

The oceans will contain more plastic than fish in just 34 years unless people change their ways, scientists reported in early 2016. The news left me feeling heartsick and helpless. “What can I do? I’m only one person,” I wondered, as if I had ever met anyone who was more than one person. I pondered, but only for a moment. I can use less plastic, I noted, and I can eat...Read More

The woman in the photo is Ochita. She’s sixtysomething and lives in a clapboard shack in the village of Ajijic half a mile from Mexico’s largest lake. This I learned from Ajijic taxi drivers and a chat with the lady. Except for Christmas her days start like this: shortly after sunup Ochita wraps dozens of colorful blankets burrito-style in six large tarps made from rice sacks....Read More