“If we come back with a kind of souvenir that makes us feel more comfortable about our lives, then it’s likely been exploitation. If we come back and we’re more uncomfortable, and also committed to smart, respectful ways to help, then maybe we properly honor the hospitality we’ve received.”
These powerful words from Kent Annan reflect the choice of the individual upon returning from trips to poverty stricken nations. Either we come home realizing just how good we ‘have it’ OR we come home with a committed heart to help those we received hospitality from in ways that are smart, respectful and long lasting. Such a commitment lasts much longer than one week or one month.
Kent has gained first hand experience within this dilemma through being the co-director of Haiti Partners, an organization that seeks not to deliver handouts to the people of Haiti but to instead to help Haitians help themselves. Kent’s recent article in the Huffington Post, “Poverty Tourism Can Make Us So Thankful”, addresses the difficult relationship between a brief mission trip and a long term commitment to the people of a poverty stricken nation.
I encourage you to read Kent’s article and to allow the words and the message to permeate whatever current view or feelings you may have towards mission work. Kent speaks with a soft but powerful voice that we all should take time to listen to and consider.