8/7/2011 7:16:36 PM
.MAPLAT, Haiti (AP) — I went to Haiti last year after the earthquake, driven by an excited but vague notion of doing some good in a hurting country.
I went again this year with my eyes open a little wider, not jaded exactly but aware of why some people view these volunteer trips with justified skepticism.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, a place where sewage runs down the streets of the capital and children die because they don't have clean water. It is in desperate need of helpers. Still, I sometimes roll my eyes when Americans visit for a week and come home declaring that their lives have been changed, as if they were not going to happily resettle into their comfy routines. My editor asked me if these trips are just a way for rich people to lessen their collective guilt, and I think that sometimes they are.