“On mountaintop. Great view. On a small Caribbean island. Pineapple and wax apple farm. Building in construction. I live with my 3 kids. 3 German Shepherds 1 Dobermann, in the unfinished building. This is a child friendly environment. St.Vincent is a lovely island, non touristic. I can offer food and lodging for your help. I appreciate your assistance. Please come and help out with farming, construction, creating greenhouse, landscaping, plumbing, carpentry, organic planting, house stay, restoring antiques, handyman, domestic work, kids homework, kids activities, decoration, home reorganization….We speak Flemish, English, French, Dutch, but all nationalities are welcome to apply.”
The above is just one of hundreds of listings found on HelpX.net (short for HelpExchange), a website that connects host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats with volunteers who exchange short-term work for food and accommodations. This particular listing is for a property located on the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean, and the family has already hosted numerous volunteers, some of whom have posted reviews of their experience. Kurt wrote:
“I loved the saltfish and bread fruit. Accommodation is very nice, your own room and bathroom. There is plenty of work, maintenance of the pineapple fields and landscaping around the house and odd jobs. Trips to town are often and you will get to mingle with the locals. When taking the local bus…hold on it is a ride.” Continue reading
During the past few years, I have frequently contemplated the issue of charitable giving. Every time there is a disaster of major proportion, we are called upon to donate. I listened to these pleas following 9/11 and the tsunami. Of late, the earthquake in China, the Myanmar cyclone, and the flooding along the Mississippi have prompted organizations like the American Red Cross to redouble their efforts to raise money. Regularly, I am subject to appeals from non-profit organizations that solicit money for a plethora of causes: Jerry Lewis browbeats me on behalf of children suffering from Muscular Dystrophy, the Fraternal Order of Police demands that I purchase their light bulbs, and National Public Radio subjects me to a full day of on-air begging twice per year.
Because I rarely donate to any of these organizations, I sometimes worry that I do not do enough to help others. I wonder if I am selfish or less generous than I should be. My problem, however, is that I have a healthy suspicion of charitable organizations. Although I believe Continue reading