Just a Check, Please
Let's say you fly down to South America with a group from your community to go and build a couple of houses for an impoverished city. That's a very cool thing, no? But, for the same amount of money, could you be helping these people more?
It costs a lot to fly down a group of people from the States, provide transportation, housing and food for a week. So, what if you took that same amount of money to hire un- or under-employed locals to build the houses themselves. The houses get built, local citizens get paid, and there's more of a local pride in what was just done. Plus, without the airfare, you're probably getting the same job done for half of what it's costing you.
So, why aren't we rethinking these mission expeditions? Maybe we should. On the other hand, the value in seeing that kind of poverty up close is hard to calculate.