We initially go there for selfish reasons.
We go to meet people different from ourselves.
We go to see beautiful scenery.
We go to find humor in things we don’t understand.
We go to see disgraceful things of our past so we can say they are disgraceful.
We go and see beautiful people of the country’s future and capture what we want to see.
But we leave them there in peril, taking what we wanted to see and feel out of the experience and leaving them with the truth.
One of my first experiences in the continent of Africa made me realize how much our world truly lacks global community. The feeling of powerlessness or distance from the volunteers to aid the people was remarkable. That is because we are going about this all wrong. Westerners coming in to “help” only really lends itself to more problems. True community is what essentially will heal the problems in developing countries in addition to the problems in the West. Once we start to realize that, healing will take place for everyone.
My first trip to West Africa was when I had to come to terms with the fact that I absolutely loathed and loved the entire continent. It was obvious at that point that Africa and I were not going to be ending our relationship, but I had no idea where it was going to go.