I used to think that business was bad and volunteering was good. Clearly, the people who were going to a third world country to make money, were greedy, terrible people who were out to exploit all the children, while those who were going to volunteer were pure-hearted and would probably change the world.
But then I came to Africa, and I saw people who were making money here, true, but they were also building roads and providing electricity to thousands of people. I saw people who had made a name for themselves, but at the same time provided jobs to a respectable number of people.
People who come here to work set an example and they make friends with locals and they contribute daily to the economy and to the national spirit.
People who volunteer are great, too. Don’t get me wrong – I’m one of them. But recently I started wondering who makes more of an impact, the money-makers or the idealists, and I’m thinking the volunteers may feel better about themselves at the end of the day, but they generally don’t make as much of a lasting impact.
And besides the whole sustainability thing, I think people generally do a much better job of things when they are getting paid and when they have deadlines and a boss. Something is better than nothing, but maybe I should have come here to mine gold, instead…?