June 13, 2007

The Doctors

Everyday I find out that I was wrong, its hard for me to say, but its true. I am sure that I held the opinion, like many do that all volunteers are a good thing and that we should all volunteer more. However, what I didn't ever consider was that organisations might not actually want volunteers! There are a number of reasons for this; new volunteers take away time and resources from the staff and organisation, they take time to become accustomed to how the organisation operates, and they leave, so if there were of any use they now have created a gap in the organisation. This was highlighted to me by the tale of some doctors who wanted to volunteer in Kampala, their plea was circulated only for them to be rejected by the majority of organisations. I always thought that doctors would be snapped up here, but I didn't consider perhaps how difficult it is to integrate them and the problems that language barriers would cause. This has obviously made me question my presence and how 'useful' I am here and how much good my volunteering can actually be. I don't really think that there is a conclusion to this statement, it just serves as an interesting example of how wrong we can be about how helpful the 'western saviours' can be!

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