An Op-Ed piece in yesterday’s NY Times by the former country director of Cameroon brings into question the usefulness of sending recent college graduates overseas to help people that probably don’t need any of their help.
Robert Strauss writes:
In Cameroon, we had many volunteers sent to serve in the agriculture program whose only experience was puttering around in their mom and dad’s backyard during high school. I wrote to our headquarters in Washington to ask if anyone had considered how an American farmer would feel if a fresh-out-of-college Cameroonian with a liberal arts degree who had occasionally visited Grandma’s cassava plot were sent to Iowa to consult on pig-raising techniques learned in a three-month crash course. I’m pretty sure the American farmer would see it as a publicity stunt…
Books on writing piss me off. I’ve said it before that “…there are many people that take advantage of aspiring writers. Aspiring writers are vulnerable and, unlike actual writers, they have money to spend on books, online courses, and websites.” I would like to add this little nugget…
Reading books on writing takes away from time that you could actually be writing, which is how a writer becomes better – writing begets writing. A brick layer doesn’t get better reading books.
The difficult thing is finding the motivation to continually write. And by motivation I mean an audience or a deadline. I was lucky to have both early on when I contributed my “Travelin’ Light” column to the Key West City paper. Without this…
No word as to what the Scout’s rank was, but, just so you know, I’m an Eagle Scout, which is basically the equivalent of a black belt, so you might not wanna mess with me. And if you do, you better Be Prepared, sucker.
I don’t necessarily agree with this view. I think that it all has its purpose and if you’re criticizing the Sunday Paper’s Travel section, you’re either an uppity traveler or reader. If you scan the comments, you’ll see a little nugget of mine I would like to share here…
I first wrote about the $100 Laptop project in November of 2006. It turns out the non-profit that introduced the project is getting serious, if not below-the-belt, competition from INTEL. There are billions of poor people out there that can’t afford a laptop and those staggering numbers could lead to big profit. What started as a warm and fuzzy project is turning into a bitter business battle. You can read about some of the ugliness in the Wall Street Journal.
My 11/06 post on the $100 Laptop –
Imagine walking into a village. Africa, Central America, it doesn’t matter just as long as it’s remote.
You probably got there by following some pot-holed dirt road. You saw a car, but it was broken…
When you buy a house and it is accessed by the county for $8,000 more than you paid for it, your response should not be, “Sweet we got a great deal!” But instead, “Crap, our taxes are going to go way up.”
Now, in order to make up for what we owe from 2007 and to continue to pay in 2008, we owe an additional monthly amount nearly equal to the monthly salary of a hardworking Chinese flip-flop maker….
The people have spoken. Their outrage has been voiced. They couldn’t believe that Mrs. Butterworth’s Boobs was relegated to the 5th slot on the most viewed pages of WAIW? in 2007. They were mad as hell and they weren’t going to take it anymore, so I recounted.
Mrs. Butterworth’s Boobs received the second-most visitors on any single day in 2007 (409). The most visitors in a single day were on The Adventure Begins post (598).
Whatever it’s worth, I’m naming the Mrs. B’s Boobs post the WAIW? Reader’s Choice Post of the year….
My brother, Kyle, is getting married in March. He seems real happy. If you don’t believe me check out his wedding’s website (at which they’ve yet to link to WAIW? – the nerve).
I’m happy for him, but in the interest of keeping him even-keeled, I thought I would bring him back down to earth with two columns I wrote that feature him. I’ll post one now and one later on in the week.
(Jenn, I think you know what you are getting by now, but please read carefully. Don’t let the PhD fool you.)
Have Malaria, Will Travel
By Kelsey Timmerman
We are on drugs and invincible…so we think.
“Dude, know what’s cool?” My brother Kyle is sitting in a metal school chair thumbing through our Honduras guidebook….