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The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
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Lord Stanley Online
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The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
Quote:Voluntourism is an outgrowth of the ecotourism movement of the 1990s. Travellers rebelled against package trips and resorts and wanted a more authentic experience – and they were willing to pay for it. Many charities in developing countries run such programmes and collect fees from volunteers.

Quote:Every year, millions of people from wealthy nations travel to poor countries, hoping to do good. University students want to spend a school break or part of a summer giving back, perhaps even to improve their CV. Christians go with their churches for one- or two-week missions. All seek personal growth, connection to those less fortunate, and the satisfaction of making a difference.

Quote:But the last thing a village needs is imported unskilled labour. People are desperate for jobs. Public works serve the community better and last longer when locals do them. Besides, long-term change happens when people can solve their own problems, rather than having things done for them.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/se...ly-do-harm
09-18-2018 09:58 AM
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(09-18-2018 09:58 AM)Lord Stanley Wrote:  
Quote:Voluntourism is an outgrowth of the ecotourism movement of the 1990s. Travellers rebelled against package trips and resorts and wanted a more authentic experience – and they were willing to pay for it. Many charities in developing countries run such programmes and collect fees from volunteers.

Quote:Every year, millions of people from wealthy nations travel to poor countries, hoping to do good. University students want to spend a school break or part of a summer giving back, perhaps even to improve their CV. Christians go with their churches for one- or two-week missions. All seek personal growth, connection to those less fortunate, and the satisfaction of making a difference.

Quote:But the last thing a village needs is imported unskilled labour. People are desperate for jobs. Public works serve the community better and last longer when locals do them. Besides, long-term change happens when people can solve their own problems, rather than having things done for them.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/se...ly-do-harm

I've always believed in....

"God helps those who help themselves"

“Time is money”

That's why a do little to no "volunteering".

We train people to think that just because they're "less fortunate", people will volunteer & donate..... No incentive to do for themselves or as my old boss used to say “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”
09-18-2018 10:30 AM
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Post: #3
RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
I've done church mission trips and I am not a fan.

For what was raised to cover travel (and a t-shirt) and taking care of housing and meals and supplies for the participants, that same money could be used to hire local labor to do the work (and likely faster and better than a bunch of teens) and put spendable money in the hands of the people who worked and done some good in the local economy.

On one trip it was planned to do a bunch of house painting. The paint was bought in Arkansas and the brushes and other supplies. $0 to local business in the place we "helped' likely negative dollars as some of that painting would have ended up being down without us and thus no sale of paint, brushes or supplies locally.
09-19-2018 05:20 PM
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(09-18-2018 10:30 AM)BadgerMJ Wrote:  
(09-18-2018 09:58 AM)Lord Stanley Wrote:  
Quote:Voluntourism is an outgrowth of the ecotourism movement of the 1990s. Travellers rebelled against package trips and resorts and wanted a more authentic experience – and they were willing to pay for it. Many charities in developing countries run such programmes and collect fees from volunteers.

Quote:Every year, millions of people from wealthy nations travel to poor countries, hoping to do good. University students want to spend a school break or part of a summer giving back, perhaps even to improve their CV. Christians go with their churches for one- or two-week missions. All seek personal growth, connection to those less fortunate, and the satisfaction of making a difference.

Quote:But the last thing a village needs is imported unskilled labour. People are desperate for jobs. Public works serve the community better and last longer when locals do them. Besides, long-term change happens when people can solve their own problems, rather than having things done for them.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/se...ly-do-harm

I've always believed in....

"God helps those who help themselves"

“Time is money”

That's why a do little to no "volunteering".

We train people to think that just because they're "less fortunate", people will volunteer & donate..... No incentive to do for themselves or as my old boss used to say “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

Community my parents grew up in did not have electricity until rural electrification programs came along. Didn't have city water until even later.

Now maybe things would have been better if the town had been allowed to die or at least shrink. But with outside help, electricity and water attracted some small factories and the area became viable to live because there became enough of a market to have more than one bank, stores and even a few restaurants opened.

First step in pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is affording to buy boots.
09-19-2018 05:27 PM
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JRsec Offline
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
I have been in close contact with, and my wife has been involved with, these kinds of ventures abroad. Our assessment in retrospect was that people who received medical care that their governments refused to provide were legitimately helped. The so called construction teams however seemed to do more to boast the self esteem of the volunteers (not universally of course but in the majority of participants) than they did to teach skills or facilitate the locals to be able to replicate the feats in the future.

So it seems to us that it is a mixed bag and that the organizing principle truly should be "Is this something that the recipients would simply do without if we didn't go, or is it something they can learn for themselves?" In most, but not all places, the MD's who went truly donated their time, didn't get a big ego boost from it, and were overworked at the sites. But, they also gave an invaluable service to those people who were helped.

But I think your criticisms for some of the other kinds of projects is pretty fair.
09-19-2018 09:26 PM
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(09-19-2018 09:26 PM)JRsec Wrote:  I have been in close contact with, and my wife has been involved with, these kinds of ventures abroad. Our assessment in retrospect was that people who received medical care that their governments refused to provide were legitimately helped. The so called construction teams however seemed to do more to boast the self esteem of the volunteers (not universally of course but in the majority of participants) than they did to teach skills or facilitate the locals to be able to replicate the feats in the future.

So it seems to us that it is a mixed bag and that the organizing principle truly should be "Is this something that the recipients would simply do without if we didn't go, or is it something they can learn for themselves?" In most, but not all places, the MD's who went truly donated their time, didn't get a big ego boost from it, and were overworked at the sites. But, they also gave an invaluable service to those people who were helped.

But I think your criticisms for some of the other kinds of projects is pretty fair.

Medical/dental, I can see being a net positive.

Crap like sending shoes and clothes just hurts what little economy places have.

Construction probably net negative for the most part.

Like to see more on how the micro-loan programs are doing.
09-20-2018 08:54 AM
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banker Offline
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
Here's the issue, when you just send money to these places the vast majority will typically get pocketed by crooked, local government.

Church groups are there, or should be there, to spread the gospel. The work done is a kind gesture that supports that mission.

I don't really buy the hurting the local economy thing. Do people believe that Habitat for Humanity is a bad program because it takes work from home builders here in the States? Is Goodwill a bad thing because it steals sales from Walmart? For the most part the things built by volunteers and clothing supplied by volunteer organizations go to the benefit of people that don't have the ability to pay for the stuff. A person with no money doesn't stimulate the economy, they just live in a dilapidated house in tattered clothing with no shoes.
09-21-2018 11:25 PM
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(09-21-2018 11:25 PM)banker Wrote:  Here's the issue, when you just send money to these places the vast majority will typically get pocketed by crooked, local government.

Church groups are there, or should be there, to spread the gospel. The work done is a kind gesture that supports that mission.

I don't really buy the hurting the local economy thing. Do people believe that Habitat for Humanity is a bad program because it takes work from home builders here in the States? Is Goodwill a bad thing because it steals sales from Walmart? For the most part the things built by volunteers and clothing supplied by volunteer organizations go to the benefit of people that don't have the ability to pay for the stuff. A person with no money doesn't stimulate the economy, they just live in a dilapidated house in tattered clothing with no shoes.

This is spot-on. Those places are poor because they're corrupt. Sending money only helps those in power, not those in need.

In fact, if you understand how currency exchanges work, you realize that giving money actually just redistributes the wealth away from the workers in the host country. Giving dollars to Haiti increases the supply of dollars in Haiti. This lowers the price of dollars in Haiti, or to rephrase this, it increases the price of Haiti's currency. Strengthening Haiti's currency makes their exports less competitive on international markets. So by sending dollars to Haiti, you're taking a job away from a productive Haitian worker. Of course, in theory, Haiti could spend the donated dollars to import more US goods to balance out the exchange rate. But is this what will really happen? Somehow I doubt it - one of the hallmarks of a corrupt socialistic or crony capitalistic economy is that they are a lot less sensitive to price pressure than we are in US-style capitalism.
(This post was last modified: 10-25-2018 10:30 AM by Captain Bearcat.)
10-25-2018 10:17 AM
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
The Catholic Church says that the point of charity is to connect with the poor. The poor are helped infinitely more by knowing people care for them than they are from receiving more material goods.

This type of charity also helps the giver just as much as the receiver. In secular terminology, by getting to know someone in need of charity, we grow as a person and learn more about what we truly need to be happy.

So yes, the Church would say that going and visiting a poor family in a 3rd world country and helping them build a house would probably benefit the poor people more than donating the cost of the trip.

A few years ago I heard a homily from a priest who turned charity it on its head: he said that we should always accept charity when it is offered. (Note: charity is an action of altruistic love to someone in need of it, and it's a completely independent concept from a donation or almsgiving. Much of the charity we do actually does not involve a donation). By accepting charity, we allow others to give charity. Because charity is just as beneficial for the giver as it is to the receiver, it is actually an act of charity to accept charity even when we do not want it.
(This post was last modified: 10-25-2018 10:45 AM by Captain Bearcat.)
10-25-2018 10:43 AM
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
On a related note, my niece did the Peace Corps. It was prestigious for the village leaders to have a Peace Corps Volunteer. But they didn't pay any attention to them. When they brought farming techniques, they just kept doing it the way they always had. It was very discouraging. She saw them not changing, knowing that some of their children would die from diseases that wouldn't be fatal in the states. She got very ill and had to leave early. She left sick and disheartened.
10-25-2018 11:50 AM
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(10-25-2018 11:50 AM)bullet Wrote:  On a related note, my niece did the Peace Corps. It was prestigious for the village leaders to have a Peace Corps Volunteer. But they didn't pay any attention to them. When they brought farming techniques, they just kept doing it the way they always had. It was very discouraging. She saw them not changing, knowing that some of their children would die from diseases that wouldn't be fatal in the states. She got very ill and had to leave early. She left sick and disheartened.

A friend of mine (not a farmer) went to Ecuador and told me that Ecuadorians had followed American advice about farming. The first year they had high yields, but after that the effects were disastrous. They claimed it wore out the soil. My friend used this as evidence that traditional Ecuadorian methods were superior to American methods.

Few Peace Corps types are actually farmers. They think farming is something that any idiot can do, so they read a few books and think they're qualified to educate the peasants.

But modern American farming is one of the most knowledge-intensive industries we have. Most farmers these days have 4 year college degrees, and the only reason some farmers didn't go to college is that they literally have been learning it since the time they could walk.

Even if the Peace Corps sent American farmers to teach, the average Ecuadorian adult dropped out of school in 5th grade. That's the average in the whole country; in rural areas it's probably closer to 3rd grade. How can you teach crop genetics to someone who's never taken a biology class? How can you teach soil chemistry to someone who's never taken a chemistry class?

It takes American farmers years to learn this stuff in a formalized curriculum from professional teachers. Yet we're sending unqualified city kids to teach it in 3 months to people who don't even know their multiplication tables.

Further, most 3rd world countries lack the infrastructure to implement American-style farming. Every acre in the USA has had its soil quality mapped by the USDA. New diseases and pests are tracked and researched by a network of hundreds of universities. These universities have agricultural extension offices in every county to give real guidance and training to farmers. There's hundreds of agricultural magazines, trade publications, and newspapers to distribute the latest information. American farmers test their soil chemistry every year to see what it needs - how can a farmer in Ecuador do this when there are no soil labs? Even if an Ecuadorian farmer knows what he needs to do, how can he get enough potash, nitrous, or any of the dozens of other chemicals US farmers rely on when there's no distribution system for it?
(This post was last modified: 10-26-2018 04:42 PM by Captain Bearcat.)
10-26-2018 04:36 PM
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(10-25-2018 10:43 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  The Catholic Church says that the point of charity is to connect with the poor. The poor are helped infinitely more by knowing people care for them than they are from receiving more material goods.

This type of charity also helps the giver just as much as the receiver. In secular terminology, by getting to know someone in need of charity, we grow as a person and learn more about what we truly need to be happy.

So yes, the Church would say that going and visiting a poor family in a 3rd world country and helping them build a house would probably benefit the poor people more than donating the cost of the trip.

A few years ago I heard a homily from a priest who turned charity it on its head: he said that we should always accept charity when it is offered. (Note: charity is an action of altruistic love to someone in need of it, and it's a completely independent concept from a donation or almsgiving. Much of the charity we do actually does not involve a donation). By accepting charity, we allow others to give charity. Because charity is just as beneficial for the giver as it is to the receiver, it is actually an act of charity to accept charity even when we do not want it.

Now, what would that do for our nation if we didn't have to go overseas to practice it?

Really my only problem with overseas missions is that we don't equally seek to do home missions. And I'm not talking about building houses and churches, or even doing medical work. We truly do have hungry people here, but more than even those we have lonely elderly shut ins that just need lights changed, eyes on electrical wires, or just a humanizing visit.

In organizing this I found that a woman and a child could provide a great social time while the husband took care of the home's needs. If the projects were too severe we would acquire the names of children who almost always lived a goodly distance away and give them a call. In most cases they were grateful for the eyes on the situation and responded positively with the needed repairs.

There is much to do here as well.
10-26-2018 08:10 PM
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(10-26-2018 08:10 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(10-25-2018 10:43 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  The Catholic Church says that the point of charity is to connect with the poor. The poor are helped infinitely more by knowing people care for them than they are from receiving more material goods.

This type of charity also helps the giver just as much as the receiver. In secular terminology, by getting to know someone in need of charity, we grow as a person and learn more about what we truly need to be happy.

So yes, the Church would say that going and visiting a poor family in a 3rd world country and helping them build a house would probably benefit the poor people more than donating the cost of the trip.

A few years ago I heard a homily from a priest who turned charity it on its head: he said that we should always accept charity when it is offered. (Note: charity is an action of altruistic love to someone in need of it, and it's a completely independent concept from a donation or almsgiving. Much of the charity we do actually does not involve a donation). By accepting charity, we allow others to give charity. Because charity is just as beneficial for the giver as it is to the receiver, it is actually an act of charity to accept charity even when we do not want it.

Now, what would that do for our nation if we didn't have to go overseas to practice it?

Really my only problem with overseas missions is that we don't equally seek to do home missions. And I'm not talking about building houses and churches, or even doing medical work. We truly do have hungry people here, but more than even those we have lonely elderly shut ins that just need lights changed, eyes on electrical wires, or just a humanizing visit.

In organizing this I found that a woman and a child could provide a great social time while the husband took care of the home's needs. If the projects were too severe we would acquire the names of children who almost always lived a goodly distance away and give them a call. In most cases they were grateful for the eyes on the situation and responded positively with the needed repairs.

There is much to do here as well.

I agree. Caring for the elderly is going to become a bigger and bigger issue.

The natural state of things is that we have kids, and our kids provide our social circle when we get old. Western nations in general do a bad job of this. But the US is particularly bad because we move so often that most old folks don't even have younger family members around.
10-30-2018 01:38 PM
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(10-26-2018 08:10 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(10-25-2018 10:43 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  The Catholic Church says that the point of charity is to connect with the poor. The poor are helped infinitely more by knowing people care for them than they are from receiving more material goods.

This type of charity also helps the giver just as much as the receiver. In secular terminology, by getting to know someone in need of charity, we grow as a person and learn more about what we truly need to be happy.

So yes, the Church would say that going and visiting a poor family in a 3rd world country and helping them build a house would probably benefit the poor people more than donating the cost of the trip.

A few years ago I heard a homily from a priest who turned charity it on its head: he said that we should always accept charity when it is offered. (Note: charity is an action of altruistic love to someone in need of it, and it's a completely independent concept from a donation or almsgiving. Much of the charity we do actually does not involve a donation). By accepting charity, we allow others to give charity. Because charity is just as beneficial for the giver as it is to the receiver, it is actually an act of charity to accept charity even when we do not want it.

Now, what would that do for our nation if we didn't have to go overseas to practice it?

Really my only problem with overseas missions is that we don't equally seek to do home missions. And I'm not talking about building houses and churches, or even doing medical work. We truly do have hungry people here, but more than even those we have lonely elderly shut ins that just need lights changed, eyes on electrical wires, or just a humanizing visit.

In organizing this I found that a woman and a child could provide a great social time while the husband took care of the home's needs. If the projects were too severe we would acquire the names of children who almost always lived a goodly distance away and give them a call. In most cases they were grateful for the eyes on the situation and responded positively with the needed repairs.

There is much to do here as well.

In Ohio and Indiana it is very common for Catholic groups to do missions to Appalachia.

But I question the depth of the material poverty in this country. When my wife and her sister went on Appalachian trips, they were shocked that many of these people who were hand-picked as being "in need" of donations had more material goods than my wife's family had.

It's hard to buy the line that people deserve your sympathy when they are buying things that you can't afford.

Are poor Americans uneducated? Yes. Do they have less stable jobs and worse working conditions? Absolutely. Do they have less material goods than richer people? In general, yes. But do they suffer from a lack of material goods? No. Absolutely not.

Involuntary starvation does not exist as a social problem in this country. The only places where you see starvation is due to mental illness or a power trip, not a lack of money. We're the only society in history where the poor consume more food than the rich.
10-30-2018 01:56 PM
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Lord Stanley Online
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(10-30-2018 01:56 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  Are poor Americans uneducated? Yes. Do they have less stable jobs and worse working conditions? Absolutely. Do they have less material goods than richer people? In general, yes. But do they suffer from a lack of material goods? No. Absolutely not.

Interesting. Are opioids driving these poverty issues? From my 10,000ft lens (and a lot of sensationalist reporting) it seems like, yes.
10-30-2018 03:45 PM
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RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(10-26-2018 04:36 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(10-25-2018 11:50 AM)bullet Wrote:  On a related note, my niece did the Peace Corps. It was prestigious for the village leaders to have a Peace Corps Volunteer. But they didn't pay any attention to them. When they brought farming techniques, they just kept doing it the way they always had. It was very discouraging. She saw them not changing, knowing that some of their children would die from diseases that wouldn't be fatal in the states. She got very ill and had to leave early. She left sick and disheartened.

A friend of mine (not a farmer) went to Ecuador and told me that Ecuadorians had followed American advice about farming. The first year they had high yields, but after that the effects were disastrous. They claimed it wore out the soil. My friend used this as evidence that traditional Ecuadorian methods were superior to American methods.

Few Peace Corps types are actually farmers. They think farming is something that any idiot can do, so they read a few books and think they're qualified to educate the peasants.

But modern American farming is one of the most knowledge-intensive industries we have. Most farmers these days have 4 year college degrees, and the only reason some farmers didn't go to college is that they literally have been learning it since the time they could walk.

Even if the Peace Corps sent American farmers to teach, the average Ecuadorian adult dropped out of school in 5th grade. That's the average in the whole country; in rural areas it's probably closer to 3rd grade. How can you teach crop genetics to someone who's never taken a biology class? How can you teach soil chemistry to someone who's never taken a chemistry class?

It takes American farmers years to learn this stuff in a formalized curriculum from professional teachers. Yet we're sending unqualified city kids to teach it in 3 months to people who don't even know their multiplication tables.

Further, most 3rd world countries lack the infrastructure to implement American-style farming. Every acre in the USA has had its soil quality mapped by the USDA. New diseases and pests are tracked and researched by a network of hundreds of universities. These universities have agricultural extension offices in every county to give real guidance and training to farmers. There's hundreds of agricultural magazines, trade publications, and newspapers to distribute the latest information. American farmers test their soil chemistry every year to see what it needs - how can a farmer in Ecuador do this when there are no soil labs? Even if an Ecuadorian farmer knows what he needs to do, how can he get enough potash, nitrous, or any of the dozens of other chemicals US farmers rely on when there's no distribution system for it?

These Africans didn't do basic stuff. They were doing it the way it was done 1000 years ago. And while my niece was not a farm expert, she was supervised by someone who was.
10-30-2018 07:50 PM
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Post: #17
RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(10-26-2018 08:10 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(10-25-2018 10:43 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  The Catholic Church says that the point of charity is to connect with the poor. The poor are helped infinitely more by knowing people care for them than they are from receiving more material goods.

This type of charity also helps the giver just as much as the receiver. In secular terminology, by getting to know someone in need of charity, we grow as a person and learn more about what we truly need to be happy.

So yes, the Church would say that going and visiting a poor family in a 3rd world country and helping them build a house would probably benefit the poor people more than donating the cost of the trip.

A few years ago I heard a homily from a priest who turned charity it on its head: he said that we should always accept charity when it is offered. (Note: charity is an action of altruistic love to someone in need of it, and it's a completely independent concept from a donation or almsgiving. Much of the charity we do actually does not involve a donation). By accepting charity, we allow others to give charity. Because charity is just as beneficial for the giver as it is to the receiver, it is actually an act of charity to accept charity even when we do not want it.

Now, what would that do for our nation if we didn't have to go overseas to practice it?

Really my only problem with overseas missions is that we don't equally seek to do home missions. And I'm not talking about building houses and churches, or even doing medical work. We truly do have hungry people here, but more than even those we have lonely elderly shut ins that just need lights changed, eyes on electrical wires, or just a humanizing visit.

In organizing this I found that a woman and a child could provide a great social time while the husband took care of the home's needs. If the projects were too severe we would acquire the names of children who almost always lived a goodly distance away and give them a call. In most cases they were grateful for the eyes on the situation and responded positively with the needed repairs.

There is much to do here as well.

We were having to care for my wive's relatives in Georgia (hours from the nearest airport) when we were 800 miles both working away in Texas. But there were good people keeping eyes on them and letting us know what was going on. Her aunt developed Alzheimer's. Her mother had diabetes and dementia. Her Dad had (we believe) a series of strokes and was feeble. Her brother was mentally challenged. When we visited often one of the three would be in a hospital 45 miles south. Then we would have to go 10 miles west to the bank and 25 miles east to check on the aunt. And part of that time was with two very young kids.

We have a neighbor who is in her 90s who insists on living at home when she has no business doing so. Several of us keep an eye on her. We don't do as much as we want because of other committments. One of the other neighbors, who has known her for decades, does a tremendous amount. We've been trying to get her church to send people to visit. Unfortunately, the lady can be cantankerous and she has driven off many of them. Its sad, because just 5 or 6 years ago in her 80s, she would go down, get the day old bread at the store every weekend and take it to the homeless shelter.
10-30-2018 08:02 PM
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Post: #18
RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(10-30-2018 01:56 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(10-26-2018 08:10 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(10-25-2018 10:43 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  The Catholic Church says that the point of charity is to connect with the poor. The poor are helped infinitely more by knowing people care for them than they are from receiving more material goods.

This type of charity also helps the giver just as much as the receiver. In secular terminology, by getting to know someone in need of charity, we grow as a person and learn more about what we truly need to be happy.

So yes, the Church would say that going and visiting a poor family in a 3rd world country and helping them build a house would probably benefit the poor people more than donating the cost of the trip.

A few years ago I heard a homily from a priest who turned charity it on its head: he said that we should always accept charity when it is offered. (Note: charity is an action of altruistic love to someone in need of it, and it's a completely independent concept from a donation or almsgiving. Much of the charity we do actually does not involve a donation). By accepting charity, we allow others to give charity. Because charity is just as beneficial for the giver as it is to the receiver, it is actually an act of charity to accept charity even when we do not want it.

Now, what would that do for our nation if we didn't have to go overseas to practice it?

Really my only problem with overseas missions is that we don't equally seek to do home missions. And I'm not talking about building houses and churches, or even doing medical work. We truly do have hungry people here, but more than even those we have lonely elderly shut ins that just need lights changed, eyes on electrical wires, or just a humanizing visit.

In organizing this I found that a woman and a child could provide a great social time while the husband took care of the home's needs. If the projects were too severe we would acquire the names of children who almost always lived a goodly distance away and give them a call. In most cases they were grateful for the eyes on the situation and responded positively with the needed repairs.

There is much to do here as well.

In Ohio and Indiana it is very common for Catholic groups to do missions to Appalachia.

But I question the depth of the material poverty in this country. When my wife and her sister went on Appalachian trips, they were shocked that many of these people who were hand-picked as being "in need" of donations had more material goods than my wife's family had.

It's hard to buy the line that people deserve your sympathy when they are buying things that you can't afford.

Are poor Americans uneducated? Yes. Do they have less stable jobs and worse working conditions? Absolutely. Do they have less material goods than richer people? In general, yes. But do they suffer from a lack of material goods? No. Absolutely not.

Involuntary starvation does not exist as a social problem in this country. The only places where you see starvation is due to mental illness or a power trip, not a lack of money. We're the only society in history where the poor consume more food than the rich.

There was a National Geographic article on hunger in America. It focused a lot on bad choices. The kid is hungry so you go to KFC or Church's or Popeyes when you could buy 5 times the chicken at a grocery store. Then at the end of the week, the person is out of money. (this was before the NG's current PC editor. Such an article would never fly today).
(This post was last modified: 10-30-2018 08:04 PM by bullet.)
10-30-2018 08:04 PM
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Post: #19
RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(10-30-2018 07:50 PM)bullet Wrote:  
(10-26-2018 04:36 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(10-25-2018 11:50 AM)bullet Wrote:  On a related note, my niece did the Peace Corps. It was prestigious for the village leaders to have a Peace Corps Volunteer. But they didn't pay any attention to them. When they brought farming techniques, they just kept doing it the way they always had. It was very discouraging. She saw them not changing, knowing that some of their children would die from diseases that wouldn't be fatal in the states. She got very ill and had to leave early. She left sick and disheartened.

A friend of mine (not a farmer) went to Ecuador and told me that Ecuadorians had followed American advice about farming. The first year they had high yields, but after that the effects were disastrous. They claimed it wore out the soil. My friend used this as evidence that traditional Ecuadorian methods were superior to American methods.

Few Peace Corps types are actually farmers. They think farming is something that any idiot can do, so they read a few books and think they're qualified to educate the peasants.

But modern American farming is one of the most knowledge-intensive industries we have. Most farmers these days have 4 year college degrees, and the only reason some farmers didn't go to college is that they literally have been learning it since the time they could walk.

Even if the Peace Corps sent American farmers to teach, the average Ecuadorian adult dropped out of school in 5th grade. That's the average in the whole country; in rural areas it's probably closer to 3rd grade. How can you teach crop genetics to someone who's never taken a biology class? How can you teach soil chemistry to someone who's never taken a chemistry class?

It takes American farmers years to learn this stuff in a formalized curriculum from professional teachers. Yet we're sending unqualified city kids to teach it in 3 months to people who don't even know their multiplication tables.

Further, most 3rd world countries lack the infrastructure to implement American-style farming. Every acre in the USA has had its soil quality mapped by the USDA. New diseases and pests are tracked and researched by a network of hundreds of universities. These universities have agricultural extension offices in every county to give real guidance and training to farmers. There's hundreds of agricultural magazines, trade publications, and newspapers to distribute the latest information. American farmers test their soil chemistry every year to see what it needs - how can a farmer in Ecuador do this when there are no soil labs? Even if an Ecuadorian farmer knows what he needs to do, how can he get enough potash, nitrous, or any of the dozens of other chemicals US farmers rely on when there's no distribution system for it?

These Africans didn't do basic stuff. They were doing it the way it was done 1000 years ago. And while my niece was not a farm expert, she was supervised by someone who was.

I'd be curious to find out what type of practices they weren't doing.

I'm not an expert in this at all. But I was under the impression that other than gradual increases in genetics cause by selective breeding and the addition of new crops with the Columbian exchange (i.e., New World crops coming to the Old World and vice versa), there wasn't much technological progress in farming from Roman times until tractors were invented in the 20th century.
11-04-2018 08:36 PM
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Captain Bearcat Offline
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Post: #20
RE: The business of voluntourism: do Western do-gooders actually do harm?
(10-30-2018 08:04 PM)bullet Wrote:  
(10-30-2018 01:56 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(10-26-2018 08:10 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(10-25-2018 10:43 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  The Catholic Church says that the point of charity is to connect with the poor. The poor are helped infinitely more by knowing people care for them than they are from receiving more material goods.

This type of charity also helps the giver just as much as the receiver. In secular terminology, by getting to know someone in need of charity, we grow as a person and learn more about what we truly need to be happy.

So yes, the Church would say that going and visiting a poor family in a 3rd world country and helping them build a house would probably benefit the poor people more than donating the cost of the trip.

A few years ago I heard a homily from a priest who turned charity it on its head: he said that we should always accept charity when it is offered. (Note: charity is an action of altruistic love to someone in need of it, and it's a completely independent concept from a donation or almsgiving. Much of the charity we do actually does not involve a donation). By accepting charity, we allow others to give charity. Because charity is just as beneficial for the giver as it is to the receiver, it is actually an act of charity to accept charity even when we do not want it.

Now, what would that do for our nation if we didn't have to go overseas to practice it?

Really my only problem with overseas missions is that we don't equally seek to do home missions. And I'm not talking about building houses and churches, or even doing medical work. We truly do have hungry people here, but more than even those we have lonely elderly shut ins that just need lights changed, eyes on electrical wires, or just a humanizing visit.

In organizing this I found that a woman and a child could provide a great social time while the husband took care of the home's needs. If the projects were too severe we would acquire the names of children who almost always lived a goodly distance away and give them a call. In most cases they were grateful for the eyes on the situation and responded positively with the needed repairs.

There is much to do here as well.

In Ohio and Indiana it is very common for Catholic groups to do missions to Appalachia.

But I question the depth of the material poverty in this country. When my wife and her sister went on Appalachian trips, they were shocked that many of these people who were hand-picked as being "in need" of donations had more material goods than my wife's family had.

It's hard to buy the line that people deserve your sympathy when they are buying things that you can't afford.

Are poor Americans uneducated? Yes. Do they have less stable jobs and worse working conditions? Absolutely. Do they have less material goods than richer people? In general, yes. But do they suffer from a lack of material goods? No. Absolutely not.

Involuntary starvation does not exist as a social problem in this country. The only places where you see starvation is due to mental illness or a power trip, not a lack of money. We're the only society in history where the poor consume more food than the rich.

There was a National Geographic article on hunger in America. It focused a lot on bad choices. The kid is hungry so you go to KFC or Church's or Popeyes when you could buy 5 times the chicken at a grocery store. Then at the end of the week, the person is out of money. (this was before the NG's current PC editor. Such an article would never fly today).

The bizzare thing is that an article like this is considered anti-PC these days.

My general feel of the economics/social science academic literature is that most of them agree with that article. And further, they see this as an education problem. And thus it's evidence that poor/black people are being screwed over from the cradle by the rich white folks who skew education funding away from poor/black neighborhoods. So really the logic in that article is about as pro-PC as you can get.

But then again, pretty much everything can be interpreted as both pro-PC and anti-PC these days.
11-04-2018 08:42 PM
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