Self-serving volunteering is realistic

Re: “Voluntourism in Africa is too trendy,” March 10

I’m sick of people dismissing any form of “volunteering” as self-serving and self-righteous.

Yes, I can personally think of a few obnoxious people who like to tout their volunteer expeditions to Africa, as they wait for the applause. But really, who cares? 

It’s human nature to factor in all benefits to any decision. Devon Butler says that non-religious volunteer organizations promote international ventures as “a way to ‘find’ oneself, gain real world experience and build up your resume.”  So what? These seem like pretty good reasons to me.

Butler says that a better investment would be giving the money to charity. However, I find handing over a cheque and absolving oneself from any further action much more self-serving and smug than someone taking the time to travel abroad and help others.

–Nikicia Phillips