3rd February 2009
Check me out at a refugee camp. And
look at me teaching poor
African ladies how to read. And now
I am in a war zone. Cool.
I like telling these stories. They're sexy
stories. People are
sometimes shocked and sometimes impressed, but they are never
But, it is time to put old ways behind me.
I am not longer interested in Sexy Volunteering. Lemme explain.
On my recent trip to Isabella in the
northern Philippines, a friend of mine visited a prisoner of
conscience. This man disappeared one night, and was eventually
discovered Ė thankfully Ė alive in a Philippines military
prison. He had been tortured. He has been accused of all sorts
of things, the murder of a political figure not been the least
of them. He is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.
I donít know what he is or is not guilty
of. But it seems to me his biggest crime was standing up against
his oppressive government and saying enough is enough.
since been moved from the military camp to a city jail and shares a cell with fifteen
I would have loved to have visited so I could see him, hear his story and
observe the dreadful conditions he is living in. It would have
made for a great sexy volunteering story.
But I didnít.
Because there was a chance that
government goons would have became curious about the strange
white guy and taken his picture. There was a chance that the government might not like
me visiting a prisoner of conscience and subsequently kicked me out of the country
for being "too political".
There was a chance that Meaningful Volunteer would all come to
That was a chance I was not prepared to
Sexy volunteering is all well and good,
but it pales in comparison to meaningful volunteering.