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7432: Usefulness of spring break trips to Haiti (fwd)

From: Shirley Jean <shirle_jean@hotmail.com>

I wanted to get the opinion of the list about an issue that sparked a heated 

Come Saturday, three separate groups of students from Harvard University 
(from the law school, church group, and the Kennedy School) are going to 
Haiti for spring break. All of the trips consist of going to orphanages and 
hospitals to give toys, schools supplies, and used clothing.

While I recognize that these are essential needs and will benefit the 
children and people that receive the donations, I can't help but question 
the whole idea of groups of students going on spring break or missionaries 
going to Haiti to help all "those Haitians" in need. In the pit of my 
stomach, I sense overtones of white man's burden type rationale. Are they 
seeing a fellow human being or just some poor, helpless Haitians? Is it all 
right that people go because they get to see for a week the poverty in the 
"poorest country in the Americas" when they are bringing supplies for an 
orphanage in the process? I also question the dependency that is fostered by 
all of these "charitable donations". But then again, are they serving a 
pragmatic function and all I am doing is looking for something negative in 
my  Haitian-always-have-to-find-something-to-complain-about self. What do 
others think?

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