Carpe diem

With Haiti’s crisis bursting from the front pages and blogosphere, masses of people confront (again) an inner angst: “Shouldn’t I be doing something?”, “Couldn’t I volunteer?”, “My job seems so meaningless.”

Times like this I question my decision to become a development student rather than a development actor. I advance already nascent plans to do something more than simply study poverty.

I think these are the right questions to ask. But where to channel that energy and angst? Unless you have a very specific set of skills and experience, you would be more harm than help in Haiti right now. Even a year down the road I can promise you there’s a better use of energy and resources than flying to Haiti to build houses for a week.

I say seize that instinct. There are a hundred Haitis out there. They are called Benin or Bolivia or Bhutan. Parts of Boston, for that matter. There is ample room for smart, dedicated people to devote themselves to emergencies, development, and aid.

I’m serious. Trust your instincts. Get up and go. Become a Peace Corps Volunteer. Click to Volunteer match. Or teach for America. From the Commonwealth? Try the VSO. Want to stay close to home? Try serve.gov.

If you are reading this line, you did not click on one of the links above.