Match Frame

Thoughts from an American editor and filmmaker in New Zealand about film and video production and post-production. Plus whatever else I feel like talking about.

Location: Balmoral, Auckland, New Zealand

A work in progress.

Monday, February 18, 2008


I'm in the very early stages of planning a possible trip around the world. There are good reasons for me to be in America in July and Asia in August, so rather than making two trips from NZ, it would make sense to just continue on, stop by London in the middle and say hi to some friends.

One thing I am trying to figure out is how long the trip should be. I have heard that it is incredibly cheap to get around Laos, Cambodia et al once you get over there, and so I have the idea of spending a good chunk of time there to really get to know it. But there is (always!) some guilt in how I choose to spend my time, and the very valid question of what the hell I would do besides sight-see. Is that enough? On my own? dunno if I could sustain that for three months.

So I had the idea of volunteering some place. Sounds great! Go be useful for a month or two to somebody. As somebody who has consistently under-delivered in his intentions towards charity in his adult life, it sounded like a very very good idea.

Until I started reading about it and realized that it is, in fact, a very indulgent and ineffective way to help. If there's one thing that developing countries are in full supply of, generally, it's healthy labor. And me working for a week in NZ or the US and sending that week's earnings to said country would (presuming it was via a reliable disburser of funds) make more of a difference than me going there to work for a month.

The few skills that I have - video editing, Lotus Notes - are not particularly areas of need for most third world countries.

So, hmmmm. There are places that will place volunteers for a fee, but I suspect in most of these cases it's preying upon people's desires to feel as if they are doing good. Teaching English is about the only thing I could come up with that strikes me as helpful, but considering my painfully overcomplicated usage of the language, I'm not sure I'm the best candidate for being an English teacher.


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