A decade ago I wrote the following Letter to the Editor in response to a New York Times article, about a wealthy US do-gooding family (“In Niger, Using a Vacation to Help the World’s Poor”). Not only is this sort of thing still happening, but it has become big business. And so I was glad to see Jacob Kushner’s article in Monday’s Times, “The Voluntourist Dilemma.” If you really want to help, as I wrote a decade ago give money or better yet, as Kushner concludes, make it your career. (Similar to what I feel about teaching:)
To the Editor: Regarding Claire Spiegel’s ”Niger: Using Vacation to Help the World’s Poor” (Journeys, Aug. 20): if readers have $4,500 per person (not including air fare) to spend on a two-week vacation helping the world’s poor, then I would suggest contributing most of that amount to a reputable nongovernmental organization and then going on a more modestly priced vacation to help out.
New York, N.Y