Matt Long's post today is about Poverty Tourism. It struck a chord with me because I have a tendency to find myself in poverty sections of places I am visiting, because I want to get away from tourists. I don't have a lot of pictures of those events though. This post made me really think about why. I think asking people to be in pictures can have a dehumanizing effect. Like they are part of the architecture or the setting. It's why my aunt got yelled at when we were in Marrakech because she took a picture of a donkey and the man on the phone thought she was taking a picture of him. It's why Said told us to ALWAYS ask permission before taking pictures of the people in Morocco. A simple wave to the camera and a gesture to the person will do. And if they say "no" you still smile and thank them. Because they are people too.
I'm posting this today on Travel With a Purpose because it makes me really think about why one spends time with people during travel. If and when you do volunteer, do it with the right heart and mind. It isn't a show. It isn't entertainment. But don't do it with pity. Do it because we are all stuck on this Earth going through this thing called life, doing it the best we can. Let it be something that bridges you to others. Something that makes you realize that your problems aren't more than others. But they aren't less either. Take a second each day to thank the Lord for the problems you have. And the problems you don't have and then figure out a way to solve them.
And when you figure out how to deal with one problem, send up a prayer that the people you meet in your travels have found a way to deal with theirs.