Voluntourism – Helpful Aid Or Just A Warm Fuzzie?

What to know before you volunteer#volunteer#humanitarianaid#relieforganizations

Master of Something Yet   posted an interesting piece about the value of volunteering  while travelling in other cultures.

Voluntourism – Helpful Aid Or Just A Warm Fuzzie?.

I’ve written here about some of my volunteer trips; based on my experiences I agree with this blogger’s observations that all volunteer trips are not created equal. Some do more good for the volunteer than for those being helped, although that may not always be a bad thing. If you come home more compassionate and passionate about helping others, then maybe it was worthwhile.

Some of the groups I worked with met the criteria  this blogger suggests better than others; those are the ones I worked with a second time.

I encourage you to volunteer, either abroad or in your community.

a basic construction site with bricks
volunteers helping locals to build a medical clinic

 

a well in a remote site
a community well built and donated by a relief agency and donated

 

 

Interested in voluntourism? Here’s what to look for

(summary of points in the article)

  • Is the company offering the project a reputable, well-established company?
  •  Has the project been established in consultation with the local community?
  • Is the project of lasting benefit?
  •  Is the project sustainable?
  • Does the project employ local people?
  •  Where is your money going?

 

 

 

If the opportunity doesn’t measure up, look for something else. There are plenty out there that  need your help.

A local nurse assisted me with a patient encounter in Thailand
A local nurse assisted me with a patient encounter in Thailand

And how often do doctors volunteer their knowledge and skills? Find out here.

 

Wherever you go, thanks for exploring the HEART of health with me here.

           Dr. Aletha WATERCRESSWORDS.COM-exploring the HEART of health

Dishing out love

The mistake we should never make is to be generous with judgment and stingy with love. The people around us are starving for love and we need to unlock our pantry and see to it that everybody gets a belly full.

My husband Raymond and I have had the honor and pleasure of knowing Bob Peragallo and his wife for several years. He is the Board Chairman for Vets With a Mission  (VWAM) , a faith based humanitarian organization;  we have served with them on mission trips to VietNam.

Like my husband, Bob is a veteran of the American war in Vietnam. After his military service, he pastored a church. Here he shares his thoughts on pastoring, leading a service organization, and serving people in need. Words worth sharing

two veterans in Vietnam
Raymond Oglesby, Bob Peragallo and local officials at Trabong Vietnam

“Often people come to me searching for something deeper than a 500 character religious platitude, something stronger than a scripture icon or soundbyte. Like them, I need something I can touch, see and feel. What we need is love because only love can satisfy us.

When this need happens for me, I never want to have to walk away empty handed or when it is my turn to be the giver of this love, God help me to never give them a substitute.

We all believe in love, but often we love the idea of love, when it needs to be our job description. God declares Himself to be “Love” and He is, but it doesn’t always run in the family. Far too often, our lives become a poor substitute for the Jesus that the world is looking to see. If I lose my focus, I may give a poor substitute for this kind of love.

As someone who has received this love from my heavenly Father, I should always err on the side of loving people.

volunteer team members dishing out love in Vietnam

We might give our religious form, our knowledge of God or worst yet, my version of what is right (oh, how I love to be right). We can dish out our political views, judgments and contempt, even silence. We all understand and can relate to this from personal experience…and we know how much it sucks.

The mistake we should never make is to be generous with judgment and stingy with love. The people around us are starving for love and we need to unlock our pantry and see to it that everybody gets a belly full.

That doesn’t mean you always tell them what they want to hear and that they are not accountable. Whenever I find myself in this tension with people, or if you do, always do your best to fill that gap with compassion, kindness and decency. When you need love nothing else will work. My job is to love others, not see to it that others love me. “

my husband snapped this photo of me with Bob; he went with us to visit the site of Raymond's firebase during the war
my husband snapped this photo of me with Bob; he went with us to visit the site of Raymond’s firebase during the war
along the way we visited the memorial at Son My, better know to Americans as My Lai, site of the infamous massacre
along the way we visited the memorial at Son My, better known to Americans as My Lai, site of the infamous massacre
"And now these three remain:faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13, photo from the Lightstock.com collection (affiliate link)

sharing the HEART of love

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.