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#1 Dec 16, 2007
""I've been in Latvia and Lithuania," one remarked. "Those are second-world countries."
Was it the fact that everyone in Lithuania has a cell phone, the numbers of autos, the less-than-4% unemployment, or the fact that it has met the basic EU standards of EU membership and was made a member in 2004 that made it a "second-world" country?
Maybe it was the 99+% rate of literacy.
I have visited Kentucky, Texas, and New Mexico. The US is obviously a third-world country unable to meet the basic needs of it's citizens.
#2 Dec 18, 2007
Say what you will, voluntourism is an industry that relies on wealthy goody two-shoes and kids who want another check on their college app or resume. However, the work that they can do is usually pretty good, so my criticism of the industry will end there.
However, right at the beginning the article quotes a person who says that these are not missionary trips. Then it says that the traditional Habitat for Humanity gift is a key and a bible, in addition to the fact that the author went on many church sponsered trips. The context is quite clear, dear corrospondant, you don't need to thump bibles and preach hell fire to spread the Good Word.
#3 Dec 18, 2007
it also looks as if you need a hell of a lot of money to go on one of these trips. I'm broke, but I'd like to help out on one of these projects. Guess I'm out of luck.
#4 Dec 19, 2007
No, you don't need a lot of money -- there are lots of groups, including Habitat, Sierra Club and many more that need help here in the U.S. and the cost is lots less. The trip I made with my Cleveland church youth group to the Pine Ride Indian Reservation was $500 including the 11 hour bus ride, while the church hurricane relief trip to Honduras a few years ago was $135 a week room and board, although airfare was above and beyond. But if you are careful, you can find a decent fare.
The story's photographer
#5 Dec 19, 2007
Mike, you are absolutely right in your comments. Our trip to Honduras was actually right after 9/11 and even then the analogy probably was a bit shaky but our son was so taken aback with the poverty in Honduras that he was searching for some comparison. We have been to Appalachia doing home repairs with our church and in New Mexico with another church, and you are SO right about our ability to care for our own people.
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