Monday, August 6, 2012

going going ghana

Today I am leaving for a 10 day trip to Ghana with American Jewish world services.

I don't know what I am going to be doing there.  It is a service mission of some kind with a number of Rabbis.

I got an arm full of shots and some pretty intense anti mosquito gear and I am boarding the plane tomorrow.

AJWS does not allow the use of phones or computers on its trips so I will be out of communication for 10 days.  No blogging.

I intend to do a great deal of blogging when I return.

In the meantime, if you get an e-mail that says that I am out of the country and lost my passport and wallet and need money - don't be so quick to delete it.  It may not be a nigerian e-mail scam.  In fact, I may actually be in nigeria.  Call my wife and ask her before sending money.

But seriously, I am not sure what I am going to be doing.  I am going with an open mind and I am going to throw myself in fully to get the full experience - whatever experience it is that AJWS has in mind.

I plan to report honestly about my experience when I return and let you all know if these types of service trips are really worth while, or if we would be better off giving our money to some professionals on the ground to help the people of Africa.

Looking forward to telling you when I get back.


  1. Good luck! I went on a trip with the American Jewish World Service to Mexico in January. As you probably know, service-learning trips are more about your own education and awareness of the greater world, than about an alternative to offering assistance to poor people in Africa. Also, direct assistance is not so helpful; what is helpful is strategies for enabling people to become self-sufficient. (See the Rambam, etc.) I learned a lot during my trip about how to best help people whom we are in a unique position to help, and I hope that you learn a lot, too!

    AJWS is wonderful. (The vast majority of their work goes to helping small, on-the-ground, non-profit organizations in poor countries. These non-profit organizations help people become more self-sufficient through providing them with education, capital to start small businesses, medical assistance that they desperately need, and training in various professions and techniques. Only a small part of their budget goes to service-learning trips, and I believe that many of those funds are raised separately.)

  2. Good luck--as an Oleh here in Israel I would add that there are very serious needs here in Israel & we look forward to welcoming volunteers here to Israel all the time. Israel is an absolutely amazing place to live-but the from both a volunteer & charity perspective-there is quite a way to go.

    B'Hatslacha in all that you do!