Our mission while at the orphanage was to build a library. Turns out that we, a group of highly educated private boarding school students were so bad at the most basic construction work that each night the men had to take down the structurally unsound bricks we had laid and rebuild the structure so that, when we woke up in the morning, we would be unaware of our failure…It would have been more cost effective, stimulative of the local economy, and efficient for the orphanage to take our money and hire locals to do the work, but there we were trying to build straight walls without a level…
Now, 6 years later, I am much better at Spanish and am still highly involved with the camp programing, fundraising, and leadership. However, I have stopped attending having finally accepted that my presence is not the godsend I was coached by non-profits, documentaries, and service programs to believe it would be…
Before you sign up for a volunteer trip anywhere in the world this summer, consider whether you possess the skill set necessary for that trip to be successful. If yes, awesome. If not, it might be a good idea to reconsider your trip. Sadly, taking part in international aid where you aren’t particularly helpful is not benign. It’s detrimental. It slows down positive growth and perpetuates the “white savior” complex that, for hundreds of years, has haunted both the countries we are trying to ‘save’ and our (more recently) own psyches. Be smart about traveling and strive to be informed and culturally aware. It’s only through an understanding of the problems communities are facing, and the continued development of skills within that community, that long-term solutions will be created.
because it doesn’t hit home for some people until a white person says it (even though poc have been saying this for ages and ages and until they’re blue in the face).
'sup, I am one of the POC who has been saying this for ages. But yeah, thank you, on behalf of someone who grew up in a city that is a big old target for people with White Savior Complexes, where the tag for the city will still occasionally feature bubbly american teenagers writing about their mission trips — “We built a house for a poor family, feeling soooooooo blessed yall, thank you Jesus, the kids are supercute, here is a photo of me hugging one of them. :) :) ” — thank you. Because I am sick of the objectification, sick of charity-porn photos, sick of having people go to the poorest parts of my city and name the whole place a wasteland that can only be saved by enthusiastic American missionaries, one questionably-built house at a time.
I know I recently posted a raw link to this, but I’m reblogging this version for Snakewife’s commentary and tags which I’m copying below:
“I did not like to be touched, but it was a strange dislike. I did not like to be touched because I craved it too much. I wanted to be held very tight so I would not break.”—Marya Hornbacher, Wasted (via rabbitinthemoon)
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”—