January 18, 2010

I Remember When...

... a "ridiculous school field trip" meant a day at the mall to "study pop culture"...

The Grade 12 students from a high school in South Slocan, B.C., and seven adult chaperones were on a mission to set up a goat farm in a town about 45 kilometres outside the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

Update: Is that a whiff of moral indignation I detect?

Seriously, Kate, what's the bug up your butt on this one? They made a choice to actually venture out and attempt to change something in the world for the better and you have gall to ridicule them? I thought better of you.

Except that they won't "change the world for the better" and the people telling them so are lying. Don't take my word for it, check the track record. If such projects were of any lasting use, Haiti would be Miami by now.

No, this is more like an episode of Survivor: Extreme Moral Preening

Steyn gets to the meat of the matter - "Even by the standards of Third World dysfunction, what country is such a basket case that it needs outside help to set up a goat farm?"

Here's a sensible observation;

Let the kids graduate from grade twelve first, and then they can pay their own way to travel to hell holes to set up goat farms.

Precisely. Set aside the fact (as their parents evidently did) that the country is a cesspool of crime and disease, has no real governing authority, infrastructure, justice system, or effective policing. (What, were all the spots to Somalia taken?) These kids were there just weeks before they're expected to take final exams and graduate - small wonder that so many university profs complain that first year students are barely literate.

Well, they're home now, and that's good. When the counseling sessions wrap up, maybe they can get cracking on that safe grad.

Posted by Kate at January 18, 2010 4:41 PM

I'm curious, really curious. I've got a lot of questions. Silly questions.

First - I need to know; I really need to know. What do grade 12 students from BC know about goat farming? Tell me, tell me.

And who paid for their trips? Oh, and who was going to buy the goats? And after they left, who was going to look after the goats?

And was there a market for these goats? And roads to take them to market? And even to process goat cheese and milk?


Posted by: ET at January 18, 2010 4:55 PM

here's a real field trip, but since it is the Zionist Entity, CBC will ignore it.

at American Thinker

Israel's Disproportionate Response
Peggy Shapiro
In the midst of the tragedy and chaos in the Haitian capital, Israeli doctors, part of IsraAID -F.I.R.S.T. (the Israel Forum for International Aid), delivered a healthy baby boy in an IDF field hospital. When the baby's grateful mother, Gubilande Jean Michel saw her newborn son, alive and well, she named him Israel in gratitude to the people and nation who brought her this blessing.

Little Israel is one of the hundreds who have been saved by Israeli doctors or rescue teams. A search and rescue team from the ZAKA Israel's International Rescue Unit pulled eight Haitian college students from a collapsed eight-story university building. Despite its small size, Israel sent a large contingent of highly-trained aid workers to quake-stricken Haiti. Two jumbo jets carrying more than 220 doctors, nurses, civil engineers, and other Israeli army personnel, including a rescue team and field hospital, were among the first rescue teams to arrive in Haiti. In fact, they were the first foreign backup team to set up medical treatment at the partially collapsed main hospital in Port-au-Prince. Yigal Palmor, Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "It's a large delegation and we're prepared to send more."

The international agencies that condemn Israel for its "disproportionate response" when it is attacked are not mentioning Israel's disproportionate response to human suffering. The U.S. has pledged 100 million and sent supplies and personnel. The U.K. pledged $10 million and sent 64 firemen and 8 volunteers.China, a country with a population of 1,325,639,982 compared to Israel's 7.5 million sent 50 rescuers and seven journalists. The 25 Arab League nations sent nothing."

Posted by: Fred at January 18, 2010 5:07 PM

Er, actually, this sounds like a somewhat valuable exercise. At the very least, it would teach them some responsibiltiy and let them get a look at how complex systems actually work.


One would think it would be cheaper and somewhat more valuable from a duplicatability standpoint (is that a word?) if they did it somewhat closer to home. Are there no available goats in BC?

Posted by: Militant Bibliophile at January 18, 2010 5:07 PM

I think you could be sure of one thing, And that is.
All hell would have broke lose from the bleeding hearts/msm/opposition in Canada if something had of happened to this group.
And who knows when things in Haiti calm down that we dont see that happen by the MSM looking to interview the feel good group for a feel good story with a twist of skewer the Govt for even allowing then to venture such a trip to such a volatile country period.

Posted by: bryanr at January 18, 2010 5:11 PM

ET I think your goat cheese slipped off the cracker. These are Grade 12 students. If it was like my son's trip to Greece then there were a lot of chocolate covered almonds sold, a lot of cars washed etc. Actually, the trip itself to see first hand how life is in the third world could probably be classified as a life experience. Having an earthquake was a bonus in that they could see how disasters can affect life rather than seeing on the National (if they watch tv at all).

If, on the other hand it was a taxpayer dollar venture then I apologize.

Posted by: Texas Canuck at January 18, 2010 5:12 PM

Greece isn't Haiti. I wonder, were all the spots to Somalia taken?

Posted by: Kate at January 18, 2010 5:16 PM

I agree with Kate. Taking a bunch of school kids to a place where you're more likely than not to be car-jacked is not particularly clever.

Posted by: sf at January 18, 2010 5:21 PM

ET, those weren't silly questions. They were stupid. It sounds like a very typical mission-type trip, and what better way to become a better citizen? I would bet they did their own fundraising, and hey, I'm sure that all the logistics about the goats had already been considered, don't you think? They wouldn't have just been showing up with a suitcase full of goats. These "kids" will never forget their experiences. Could be future doctors, politicians, nurses, hey even construction workers that will KNOW what these desperately poor nations need. Just sayin'

Posted by: wendy.g at January 18, 2010 5:25 PM

Well, t beats a trip to a box factory...

I was impressed the kids pooled their money for rice.

At the very least, perhaps they'll return with a newly found respect for the vicissitudes of life and death in the real world rather than the happy-clappy one they are usually exhorted to imagine in their classrooms.

Posted by: JJM at January 18, 2010 5:27 PM

ET: And why would they need to go down to Haiti to study goat farming?

Posted by: Warren Z at January 18, 2010 5:27 PM

Texas Canuck: "Having an earthquake was a bonus"

That depends whether you like having cement cinder blocks dropping onto your child's head.

Posted by: sf at January 18, 2010 5:29 PM

sf, time to let the little snowflakes learn about life. More than a few aid organizations are working in that country and relatively speaking, it is a bit higher on the civilized chain than Somalia, although not by much. I probably not recommend a field trip to North Korea either.

Posted by: Texas Canuck at January 18, 2010 5:30 PM

wendy.g: "These 'kids' will never forget their experiences"

Yes, it's true, when my father was robbed at knife-point twice in the same week in a third world city he never forgot the experience either.

Posted by: sf at January 18, 2010 5:34 PM


I smell horny seventeen year old Jihadists.

Posted by: Doug at January 18, 2010 5:36 PM

Texas Canuck: clearly you don't have even the slighest idea what Haiti is like off the resort. You are totally clueless. Haiti makes Jamaica look like Walt Disney World.

By far the most dangerous & lawless country in the Caribbean, Haiti has one thing in common with a few other places on this list, it was once invaded by the United States.

Posted by: sf at January 18, 2010 5:41 PM

Where to I sign up to send my teenager to Haiti?

Posted by: Norman at January 18, 2010 5:43 PM

Texas Canuck: here's some more Haiti tavel info for the kids:


The security situation is hazardous and unpredictable. Canadians who travel to Haiti must be vigilant throughout the country. There is criminal activity, especially in large centres such as downtown Port-au-Prince and Gonaïves, where some armed gangs continue to operate. Since the beginning of 2007, actions by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to disband criminal gangs and ensure the safety of citizens have been successful in substantially reducing crime in the area north of Port-au-Prince, and particularly in Cité-Soleil. Many gang leaders have been arrested and others have fled the capital. Despite this progress, kidnappings in parts of the capital previously considered safe from criminal activity still persist, although at a lower rate than in previous years. The areas of Pétion-Ville, Thomassin, Kenscoff and Furcy have been targeted in this regard.

Although travel in the provinces presents less of a risk once beyond the suburbs of Port-au-Prince, travellers are advised to exercise extreme caution and not to travel after dark.

Murder, kidnapping, armed robberies, burglaries, and carjackings have been known to occur even in daylight hours. The general Haitian population, regardless of level or social class, can be considered at risk of being kidnapped. Although rare, there have been kidnappings involving Canadians and other foreign nationals, including missionaries, aid workers and children. Most victims have been released after paying ransoms. However, in some exceptional cases, victims have disappeared or have been killed.

Avoid walking alone at all times. Keep car windows closed and doors locked when travelling. Avoid showing visible signs of affluence, such as wearing expensive-looking jewellery or cameras. Remain cautious with new acquaintances offering friendship or hospitality. Foreigners, including Canadians, are viewed as wealthy. Travellers should comply and not resist if attacked.

Remain alert to small groups of loiterers, especially near your residence. Keep doors and windows secure at all times. Instruct domestic staff to only permit pre-authorized visitors whose identities have been verified into your home. Keep all visitors under close supervision.

Personal and luggage security cannot be guaranteed at the Port-au-Prince airport. Arriving passengers are often overwhelmed by the large crowd of loiterers outside the terminal who pretend to offer porter or taxi services. Canadians have been arrested for drug trafficking after they agreed to check in bags for new acquaintances.

Avoid photographing individuals without obtaining their approval first. Be cautious when photographing scenes in poorer or urban areas, where people may feel exploited or insulted by being subjects of such activities.

Posted by: sf at January 18, 2010 5:44 PM

"Greece isn't Haiti. I wonder, were all the spots to Somalia taken?'


Just as I wouldn't let my daughter go overnight to a Powwow at a reserve with her friend and mother last December(to no applause from my daughter), I would not allow my daughter to go to Haiti regardless of the reason why, or who she's with. Not even if Jack Bauer was chaperone!

Posted by: Indiana Homez at January 18, 2010 5:46 PM

sf, I didn't say it was a resort. There are organizations that work there to help those who need it so I'm pretty sure those BC kids didn't show up at the airport and thumb a rde to their location. Don't forget that there were thousands of Canadians there and not all were dual passporters either.

btw, I was in Bermuda when they had racial riots. Be careful yes, but don't get paranoid. Hell, there are parts of Toronto I wouldn't go to even in the daylight.

Posted by: Texas Canuck at January 18, 2010 5:52 PM

send your kids down to Haiti with a bunch know nothing chaperones, reeeeeeeeeeeal smart I say.

friend of mine went to D.R.
next door and damn near got killed, and it's relatively civilized in the D.R.

if you ain't bin to one of these third world crapholes, do so before you send your kids there

Posted by: GYM at January 18, 2010 5:55 PM

imagine if the unthinkable happened and this group was caught in a collapsed building. field trips, travel clubs, sports travel etc. would ALL be stopped immediately by every school board across the country, experience or not one thinks of the repercussions of our choices

Posted by: tim.m at January 18, 2010 5:55 PM

I think a similar situation could happen with a school group down at disneyland if a big earthquake hit California. I have only respect for these kids, using their time and money to do good. I'm pretty sure their security would have been taken care of, until the quake happened. That's what changed the story. They aren't the first or only group to go down there.

Posted by: wendy.g at January 18, 2010 5:55 PM

This school field trip looks to be similar to many church sponsored missions I have heard of to places in Latin America. In fact, the group stayed at a mission, Haiti Arise, while they were there:

Excuse my clumsy attempt at a theological explanation, but many Christians feel a duty to serve those less fortunate, and that can mean more than just writing checks. People go to many places, from soup kitchens in downtown Edmonton, to third world countries and do what they can to help, even if it is just to provide manual labor or hand out rice.

These groups typically raise their own money and try to provide a service to those less fortunate than themselves. At the very least, these acts of "service" make the kids a little more appreciative of what they have at home.

Posted by: hoil at January 18, 2010 6:02 PM

My goodness. Grade 12 students (some of them likely old enough to vote or do military service, are you against that too?) trying to good works in a poor country? The HORROR! We must protect them! Will no one think of the CHILDREN?

Seriously, Kate, what's the bug up your butt on this one? They made a choice to actually venture out and attempt to change something in the world for the better and you have gall to ridicule them?

I thought better of you.

Posted by: djb at January 18, 2010 6:05 PM

There was a time when Canadians (pre 1948 so actually Newfoundlanders) were made of sterner stuff.

I wonder how he would respond to modern teenagers and their chaperones panicking because they did not have telephone contact?

A dismal view into our feminized schools and their helping caring abilities.

When the going gets tough the kids demand cel phone access or mummys warm blankie. Pathetic.

Posted by: Cascadian at January 18, 2010 6:09 PM

I guess the most telling point of this story for me was that the kiddies had a REAL life experience that I'm sure would leave a lifelong earthquake ,death,destruction,mass chaos,survival of some by methods reserved for the seamier side of life etc.

An unfortunate situation but nontheless a solid encounter with reality beyond Hollywood and video games.
However I'm sure once back home,the 'victim patrol' in the guise of compassionate counselling services will work wonders at putting a gloss coat over the experience;(one even Walt Disney would approve) at least the fainter hearted witnesses from this billy goat junket can hope to function in their future lives.

Ah yes...the compassion did we manage for so many millenia without them ?

Posted by: simon at January 18, 2010 6:10 PM


I'm going to wager a guess, I bet you don't have any kids, do you wendi.g?

If yes, are you saying that you would allow your teen to visit Haiti on a field trip with her/his class before the earthquake regardless of how noble the cause?

Posted by: Indiana Homez at January 18, 2010 6:12 PM

Texas Canuck:

Just the fact that you compare Bermuda and Toronto to Haiti is saying something.

Wendy.g thinks it's clever to compare California to Haiti.

You people have no idea.

The fact is, in Haiti there is no help available when things go bad, and in fact even the most experienced and careful travellers can be attacked in Haiti in broad daylight.

If you travel to Haiti enough, you WILL be attacked, guaranteed. If you travel to Haiti to help with the earthquake, you may very well see something like this:

I can guarantee you, that's not something you will see in Bermuda, California, or Toronto.

Posted by: sf at January 18, 2010 6:14 PM

I just remember field trips to the ROM were we would skip out and check out the headshops on Yonge st. :-)

Posted by: RFC at January 18, 2010 6:14 PM

Actually, I have 4 children, 16-26. And I wouldn't know what I'd think about sending any of them off on such a trip, since I would now be making the decision based on what we've seen, wouldn't I? My whole point was, it's amazing to see these young people do humanitarian work. Much has been done in Haiti by people just like them, who've caught the vision of helping others.

Posted by: wendy.g at January 18, 2010 6:16 PM

Texas Canuck:

Just the fact that you compare Bermuda and Toronto to Haiti is saying something.

Wendy.g thinks it's clever to compare California to Haiti.

You people have no idea.

The fact is, in Haiti there is no help available when things go bad, and in fact even the most experienced and careful travellers can be attacked in Haiti in broad daylight,when there is no riot nor earthquake. Add a riot or an earthquake and you're in deep trouble.

If you travel to Haiti enough, you WILL be attacked, guaranteed. If you travel to Haiti to help with the earthquake, you may very well see something like the photo shown in the toronto star (google "Mob justice in Haiti - thestar")

I can guarantee you, that's not something you will see in Bermuda, California, or Toronto.

Posted by: sf at January 18, 2010 6:17 PM

Good post Fred.

Posted by: Terry Anderson at January 18, 2010 6:21 PM

There are places in the world where a white skin colour makes you a target to be attacked, and where the rule of law is absent, and it doesn't matter how young or old you are. Haiti is one of those places. I don't think any self-respecting parent should ever send a child to Haiti on a field trip.

Having been to a couple of places that are not terribly safe, that's how I feel about it.

Posted by: sf at January 18, 2010 6:23 PM

I dunno. Isn't REAL life experience sort of like NATURAL ingredients? Cholera's a REAL life experience. Arsenic is a NATURAL ingredient.

djb - I know these kids. Not these exact kids, but kids just like them, archaeology field-school kids: Middle-class kids with well-off parents who don't really want them around. And, sadly enough, they are children. They shouldn't be, but they sure are.

And what's so helpful to humanity about raising goats in Haiti for a few weeks?

Posted by: Black Mamba at January 18, 2010 6:26 PM

And a make-work project for the grief counselors back home.

Posted by: kdl at January 18, 2010 6:33 PM

Ive always supported the idea That after high school Our young folks should be given a tax or sum to travel cheaply in a another Country or several for 6 months to see the World compared to Canada.Particularly those headed for University. Much better use of tax dollars than sending Lynch of HRC infamy. To Somalia to hear about "Human rights" or the many Junkets by fat politicians.
Truly exposing teens to the real world early will protect them from socialist nonsense.

Posted by: Revnant Dream at January 18, 2010 6:35 PM

"I'm pretty sure their security would have been taken care of, until the quake happened. That's what changed the story."

You don't let kids go to a violent cess pool like Haiti to do humanitarian work quake or no quake.

You also can't make ridiculous claims about California & Haiti being the same in how they would respond to an earthquake.

One is a modern democracy with resources, technology and infrastructure the other is...well you know.

There's enough established aid agency's there already. A couple of goats ain't gonna make a hill 'o beans of difference to anyone.

It was obviously some dumbass do-gooder (see progessive) teacher who thought this thing up in the first place.

Posted by: unconcious objector at January 18, 2010 6:37 PM

Travelling to another part of the world and trying to do some good is a far better educational venture than visiting the mall, a museum, art gallery or other politically correct, safe, smarmy, nanny state venue. These kids now recognize what it's really like out there and will suffer no future delusions when they are asked to swallow the pap on the 10 o'clock news, or in comments logged on internet forums.

My daughter went to build a small library in a remote village in mainland China. It wasn't a comfortable feeling to let her go, but let her go we did, and she came back a more knowledgeable person.

Let's face it - even in Canada kids get shot on trips to the mall.

And I'd bet that there was some knowledge about goat farming among those kids and their chaperons, as they came from an area of BC where people have been known to raise livestock.

I feel proud of those kids for going, and proud of the parents and chaperons for having the guts and organizational skills to pull off a trip of that complexity. The earthquake was an unfortunate and unforeseen event that destroyed their plans and dreams. Instead of mewling on here that they risked life and limb and should have stayed home and studied Political Science, we should be contributing to a fund that would give them a second chance to do the good they set out to do.

Posted by: kakola at January 18, 2010 6:45 PM

My question is if these kids could even tell the bucks from the does? I don't have near as much trouble with the kids going down there if they could actually pass on some knowledge or material but I have a sneaking hunch the local Haitians know more about goats than their benefactors. To paraphrase my father, "Son that Haitian has forgotten more about goats than you will ever know".

Posted by: Joe at January 18, 2010 6:50 PM

A couple of goats wouldn't make much of a difference to a Canadian, no. But to a Haitian? Wow, that would've meant the world.

Posted by: wendy.g at January 18, 2010 6:51 PM

kakola - "...even in Canada kids get shot on trips to the mall."

Oh, not very often.

Posted by: Black Mamba at January 18, 2010 6:52 PM

Why don't the Haitians set up their own goat farms? Why do they need upper-middle-class whitebread yahoos in Che Guevara t-shirts to help them?
Maybe I'm just being cynical....

Posted by: Osumashi Kinyobe at January 18, 2010 6:54 PM

I am surprised that the school board would allow such a trip at all. My son went to Europe the year after 9/11. He was in grade 11 at the time. There was a lot of talk about whether or not they would be allowed to go due to liability considerations. If something happened, who would get sued. We almost were to the point that we had to arrange it as a none school affiliated trip to appease the school board. There is no way that I would have allowed him to go to Haiti. I can't see how the school board would be okay with that. Imagine if something had happened to those kids, earthquake or not.

Posted by: Pandora at January 18, 2010 7:03 PM

Haiti was probably a bad choice to send kids to considering they probably had other choices if they wanted to help people. Lots of places in Canada where they could help out. Then again in Canada they would have to deal with yucky poor people not exotic poor people. They are very lucky to be alive.

I would guess that the goats would have been killed and eaten befor the kids even got back home.

Next year take the class on a road trip to Detroit.

Posted by: gord at January 18, 2010 7:04 PM

At 15, I went on a mission trip to Mexico. We worked in the Mexico City dump. Over 1 million people lived in the dump. I know of dozens of kids that have gone on similar trips to Haiti precisely because it is so bad.

Posted by: Vmaximus at January 18, 2010 7:11 PM

Let the kids graduate from grade twelve first, and then they can pay their own way to travel to hell holes to set up goat farms.

Ridiculous, condescending mission.

Posted by: chutzpahticular at January 18, 2010 7:17 PM

Vmaximus, how long ago was that?

Posted by: chutzpahticular at January 18, 2010 7:20 PM

"since I would now be making the decision based on what we've seen, wouldn't I?"

C'mon wendi.g and kakola, it's not about the earthquake!

I checked with my friend (Haitian born) and he concurred that it is lunacy to send your teen child to Haiti on a field trip. Unless you are visiting family, it is a high risk activity. I also went to Jamaica with a Jamaican family to visit their family. I can assure you that outside tourist destinations, crackers should not be traveling. The fact that I was visiting locals made all the difference. Give your heads a shake!

There are no earthquakes in Saskatchewan, but I'm not going to send my child to the aforementioned native reserve and risk her being raped or murdered in a lawless environment regardless of her progressive plea that “they’re nice people”! You can not argue that sending your child into a lawless country is not risky behaviour, even if the people are “nice”.

The next time you're watching a beheading on the internet, just try and think about what the poor sap losing his head thought when he hopped on the plane to dirkadirkastan: that won't happen to me.

BTW, wendy.g; I know you wouldn’t, because you didn’t!

Posted by: Indiana Homez at January 18, 2010 7:25 PM

I know african black culture tradition and somalian indian like Goat meat but majority of people do not like goat meat since smells and more fat and less meat to it and this cheaper meat compare with lamb and cow

what is more strange

In 1946, the Manhattan Engineer District published a study that concluded that 66,000 people were killed at Hiroshima out of a population of 255,000.

NOw Haiti earthquck was so strong like kill
1.5 time more killed in compare with Hiroshima

are you sure nobody did any nuclear activities under water caused this disaster
since this is strange to
all those peopel died

Are you sure all change doen recently all
are climate change not man made some crazy change interfer in climate change under water all to me strange
I never heard that kind of earth quak and dead people ever in history?????

may be some criminal doing something or
just they face bad fate and bad luck


how can investigate


I look at face of Haiti are similar like Kenya or somalian face or Egyption kind of nice looking black people they could hire them to work as
actor, sing or entertainment in hollywood or politican for their look
I also heard all criminal prison are free now in Haiti since jail was down too
now we can see more drug sell every where
may be quick solution
rather than send doctore there to bring them to some countries

bring Haiti people or some of tem like temporary refugee base to few countries close by
fix thier country
return them back

this is better to save more life
to keep them in their home land hungry and dead and injured with no doctor

why not transfer thier peopel rather than transfer the food can 0nly help them few days

who can pay all cost of transportation to them
this is more costly to send food to them
this is better to ship them to any island or country or Cuba or even canada and US for refugee
in temporary basis

at least they can save area who hit more to the eartquack , god and good people neeed to help those people

or bring all US vocation cruise and let peopel live in cruis temporaty clost to theri sea land those cruise line ship if their house destroy untill they can have home fix or any ready made home transfer there

Posted by: new at January 18, 2010 7:26 PM

Joe at 6:50
That's really funny! LOL
And I agree with you they probably wouldn't know the male goats from the female ones..

Posted by: The Glengarrian at January 18, 2010 7:32 PM

this is exactly the reason why you conservatives don't see the value of something from an experienced internationalist, like Iggy. Seeing what the world really is like, broadens your mind and helps you understand the world better. Going to places like Haiti, a third world country, while trying to help some locals do what they might not have the chance to do, may have made these kids more broad-minded. While I have not been to Haiti, I have been to Thailand and Cambodia for a similar outreach trip where we helped local hill tribes create water systems to grow their pesticide-free crop. When you go to these places, you get an understanding of what the world really entails. The media and movies show poverty, crime, and sickness. Lots of the crime happens in the cities, just like any developed nation. But it is the crime that is glorified in the media. However, by visiting these countries, you see first-hand at the hard working and happy lives of people from developing countries. These people dont necessarily desire all that we desire, yet they are happy with their lives. I am a huge advocate for global outreach trips like this one to Haiti. It gives students the chance to do something they might otherwise not be able to do - and these are usually paid for out of the students (or well-off parents) pockets.
To you conservatives, look outside your own backyard and experience something new, you might learn something and maybe live a little.

Posted by: biffman at January 18, 2010 7:48 PM

Folks, there are well run mission trips, and poorly run ones. The well run ones partner with people "on the ground" who know the country, and the culture, and how to do it safely.

For instance, my church does them in Mexico. Our Mexican friends tell us flat out that we gringos can't do a trip in certain places (eg: Xuahaca) as we might be kidnapped. And they showed us how to operate safely (and legally .... also sometimes a problem) in the areas where we did our work. They also helped us understand how not to get scammed.

As for where the money came from, we raised it. The kids worked really hard to raise the cash to make it happen.

And it was good for them! We get more out of it than the people we help. The kids get to do some hard physical work, instead of playing xbox all day. They get to meet people who are poor, and are working to better their situation instead of just bitching that they are disadvantaged and entitled.

We saw one lady who took the house we built her, rented it to someone else, and bought herself a taco stand. She lives upstairs, and employs the woman to whom she is renting the house that we built her. Some of the locals were afraid we would be angry that she had done this (and one of them tattled to us about her). Imagine their shock when we cheered!! Mission accomplished! We gave her a hand up, and she ran with it. Do you think the kids learned a valuable lesson?

But as I said, not all trips are created equal. Judge each one on it's own merits. Don't assume anything.

Posted by: Karl at January 18, 2010 7:49 PM

Indy @7:25 - I agree with you almost as much as Matt Damon sucked in that movie.

(p.s. am a big fan of overprotective fathers, keep at it.)

Posted by: Black Mamba at January 18, 2010 7:49 PM

Goats are a bad idea for a place that's going through desertification, like Haiti. The place has already seen its forests cut for firewood and charcoal. Goats eat plants right to the roots. They're hell on pastures, especially on marginal land and in large numbers. Goat grazing is responsible for the degredation of much of north Africa. Keeping a couple of goats on a mixed farm isn't quite so bad. Jamaicans keep them for milt and meat, and all the "processing" another poster worries about is done on the spot.

Posted by: MarkB at January 18, 2010 7:56 PM

"this is exactly the reason why you conservatives don't see the value of something from an experienced internationalist,"

Yap Yap Yap!

Biff, it's been demonstrated time and time again, that when it comes to philanthropy conservatives knock it out the park compared to liberals. Whether it's philanthropy or being "worldly" when you're talking about the "left" it's all lip service. So please, keep convincing yourself that progressives are making the world a better place. In that time of convincing yourself, conservatives are donating their money and time to important causes while progressive are drawing a pay check for their philanthropy.

Posted by: Indiana Homez at January 18, 2010 7:56 PM

Thanks Mamba. I'm a fan of yours, and many of the fine ladies that comment here.

Posted by: Indiana Homez at January 18, 2010 7:58 PM

biffman - oh, blah. There's no idiot like a well-off, well-travelled spoiled idiot. These projects are just glorified summer-camps.

"...experienced internationalist, like Iggy."

Experienced at hosting late-night BBC chat-shows, is it?

Karl - you sound like you might have a clue, and I certainly won't argue with you.

Posted by: Black Mamba at January 18, 2010 8:01 PM

Indy - I appreciate that almost as much as Cuba Gooding Junior should have had a bigger part in that movie.

(p.s. warned you about you-know-new.)

Posted by: Black Mamba at January 18, 2010 8:04 PM

180 airlifted out??

So aside from the kids, who are the other +170 people that are roaming the streets of Canada now?

It’s never a good thing when Canada sends in aid or enters a country on behalf of the UN. We end up with more unskilled mouths to feed (Unless “Goat Herder Journeyman” has any relevance in our society) or worse terrorists in our street every time.

Posted by: Knight 99 at January 18, 2010 8:09 PM

I recall working for World Vision or something in Africa----guarding the rigs which were drilling wells for clean water.
Armed guards were necessary because the local would steal anything and kill to do so.
Then somebody had to wait for the cement to cure that secured the pump to keep it from being stolen.
An open well head had to be guarded to prevent the colourful locals from crapping down it.
The mentality is that anything given by the white man has no value.
Lovely people.....
I'm not bigotted----prejudiced perhaps.....with good reason.

Posted by: sasquatch at January 18, 2010 8:25 PM


Posted by: Black Mamba at January 18, 2010 8:29 PM

Hey biff did you ever think many conservatives came from families that started without a pot to p--- in, and never forgot where they came from ?

It's to bad you traveled so far just to get a grip on the simple things in life (scratch one polar bear).

Posted by: Mugs at January 18, 2010 8:30 PM

rord - Next year take the class on a road trip to Detroit.


Here is Forbes most dangerous countries in the world list.

the sahel
russian caucasasus
democratic republic of congo

I find it interesting that people here talk about mexico, cambodia, thailand, and so on, as if all poor places were the same, as if they are all equally dangerous. They're not - the idea that they are somehow similar is extremely naive.

Some have mentioned Toronto, California, and Bermuda.

There is a very, very big difference.

The national soccer team bus of togo was machine-gunned in west africa and nobody knows why. This does not happen in mexico, thailand, or cambodia. In colombia, people are kidnapped and held in the jungle. This does not happen in mexico. I have a friend who lived in Nigeria working for an oil firm, she was not allowed to travel anywhere except with her personal chauffeur.

I would not, in my right mind, think of sending any Canadian child to any one of these regions.

Notice Haiti is on the list. The list was compiled before the earthquake. Haiti is not a big country either - it's all dangerous.

Posted by: sf at January 18, 2010 8:38 PM

And at the end of the article... - enter the counselors. Oy.

Posted by: Brian M. at January 18, 2010 8:40 PM

btw, I think it was Ben Aflick who missed the point.

Posted by: IH at January 18, 2010 8:42 PM

My kids went to a hutterite colony for a school field trip. Not quite as scary as Haiti. Well, maybe for the girls.

Posted by: dp at January 18, 2010 9:10 PM

One can understand a natural eagerness of wealthy, middle-class Canadians to help those less fortunate but it does not follow that those "less fortunate" will feel grateful. It may even follow that they start to hate these do-gooders, not to mention they may take advantage of them. That's why Haiti is "dangerous" for Canadian visitors. Many Canadians have not been in such places and think that because they (or their kids) will try to help the natives the trip would be less dangerous. Such belief is false.
I would send my kid to Haiti if he was aware of danger and be well prepared for danger, and spoke the language of the country - one can not keep child in cocoon. But then I would not stand some idiot to give me a lecture on "traumatic experiences".
"There will be a need for some counselling. They have had a horrendous experience and we are actually starting today with a session for parents."..poor parents also need counselling. ;-)

Posted by: ella at January 18, 2010 9:13 PM

The problem I have with this story isn't about the kids or the work they were trying to do but the attitude of their parents. Out here in LaLa land the parents were screamiing about why the govt wasn't getting their kids out sooner. Well excuse me there are 9 million other people in the country who are in worse shape than your kids. The story yesterday was that a private company was willing to get them out for only $7000.00 US each. Yup for sure. And this morning instead of apologizing to the govt, they thanked the military for rescuing their kids. Is it too much for people to understand these things take time to arrange. Don't automatically blame the govt for moving too slowly during a disaster. That just puts our troops and the victims at increased risk. Simple physics dictates that ships can only move so fast and only so many planes can land at an airport with only one runway and limited space for them to park. Oh yeah and keep the freaking politicians away from the photo ops that are so available. Bill Clinton could have overflown the country from the aircraft carrier and not had to pack around a whack of security in an already desperate situation. And leave the partisan politics out of a tragedy like this for goodness sake.

Posted by: Rick Rae at January 18, 2010 9:41 PM

Not sure why it's called a ridiculous school trip. It would be good for many self centered North American kids to see how the real world lives. I've met hundreds of kids (ours included) who have gone away for those short term 'aid' trips, and had to raise most of their own funds to get there. They return with a whole new approach to life. They stand out from the crowd.
I agree with Rick Rae.The media jumped on the bandwagon.

And ridiculous school trip was when I was in high school. The 'New York trip'..big waste, big drunk, big show of sexual liberty...and partly paid by the Board.

Posted by: bluetech at January 18, 2010 10:24 PM

Steyn sums it up quite nicely:

Even by the standards of Third World dysfunction, what country is such a basket case that it needs outside help to set up a goat farm?

Posted by: SDH at January 18, 2010 10:28 PM

bluetech- Sure, those kids got to see how the rest of the world lives. Then they learned that their lives are much more valuable than the local kids, because their parents could afford to buy special treatment. A valuable lesson indeed.

That school trip to New York, was that students, or teachers?

Posted by: dp at January 18, 2010 10:46 PM

One day, too soon I fear, an oldish man named Mark Steyn will be recalling a recent prayer he made to his red-haired God. It will be transrealized in 6-D on the latest Z-ray transvisionator area painted on a wall of an ornate minaretted black, bleak-house.

The realization-vision prayer might go something like this...

"The god who created the earth; who created the sun that gives us light. The god who holds up the ocean; who makes the thunder roar. Our God who has ears to hear. You who are hidden in the clouds; who watch us from where you are. You see all that Islam and Libslam has made us suffer. America's god. LaLa asks folks to commit crimes. But the god within us wants to do good. Our god, who is so good, so just, He orders us to revenge our wrongs. It’s He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory. It’s He who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of America's LaLa who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty that speaks in all our hearts."

So far, so good. But earlier realization-visions had depicted a host of natural, even criminally predictable disasters. 17 Boeing 931s blew to pieces, expected from haemotheopathetic infusion devices within the bodies of young, expecting-the-worst mothers not-to-be. Vast clouds of highly radioactive gasses had only recently escaped from penalty-factories, in the earlier known silicon valley. On top of (I mean under) all that were a series of magnitude 7 and 8 earthquakes caused by the collapse of America's main concentration of Obomba factories and Al Jezoogle disinformation hives.

How dare old man Steyn invoke long forgotten images of past printed criminal imaginations, and conrealize them with these new unforeseen disasters. He needs to be cut-up, beheaded and threaded into a HexTurkey for our annual nothanks-taking festivities.

"Yes," he told me later, "considering the destruction and misery, I might have waited a bit. Especially about my God who knows the future before the past emerges from the present, later"

Posted by: noel at January 18, 2010 10:47 PM

Good contributions by Vmaximus & Karl, who have first hand knowledge of these kinds of trips and provide experienced perspective.

I won't deny I would be very reluctant to allow my kids to travel to Haiti, and I have no idea of the level of security that was arranged. It could even be naive for these groups to think they could have a positive influence, without going into the considerable risk they were taking.

I will say that these people went there for the very same reason that Haiti is being criticized for; it is a hellhole that needs help. I will not criticize their motivation or mock them.

Posted by: hoil at January 18, 2010 11:06 PM

humanitarian mission my buhoki

when the going got tough, they got going , home !

there was nothing done in the few hours they spent in the tropics.

Posted by: cal2 at January 18, 2010 11:11 PM

barney barney
buck and doe
who to haiti
would ever go

Posted by: john begley at January 18, 2010 11:24 PM

hoil: I agree with you that the Haitians need help. I won't criticize the motivation to help them. But I would draw the line when it comes to kids. To me, the risk vs reward calculation, when it comes to kids, has only one answer.

Once they're adults and they're better able to fend for themselves, then sure, let em go to any hellhole on earth if they know the risks and that's what they want. We should be evacuating kids out of Haiti, not sending kids into Haiti.

Posted by: sf at January 18, 2010 11:28 PM

No problem with mission or field trips to poor countries for young people, whether paid by the students, school, or government. I consider it narcissism prevention which is all to prevalent among young adults and I do not agree that the goat farm is a "cheesy" idea.

Posted by: narcissist prevention at January 18, 2010 11:31 PM

I suppose introducing 10,000 year old technology (goat farming) has value in parts of the world ... who better to deliver it than the product of our modern education ... and their teachers.

Posted by: ∞² at January 18, 2010 11:45 PM

"Well, their home now"

they're ? Not sure I like being a snot.

Posted by: ∞² at January 19, 2010 12:03 AM

And that you are. Error corrected.

Goat farm. Think about that. What's the unemployment rate in Haiti? 50% ? Higher?

"Canadian teenagers - doing the jobs that Haitians won't do."

Posted by: Kate at January 19, 2010 1:01 AM

bluetech - American kids are no more self centered than any other kids, you got quite a wrong assumption. If they were more self centered they would not go and try to help. And they would not (as you wrote) raise money for their do-good trip.
I do not question kids attitude, I question their parents belief that this kind of trip will "widen kids horizons". I also question the belief that the natives need such kind of help.
I think this kind of trips are done more for the complacency of North-Am parents then for real benefit of natives.

hoil - YUP, hellhole needs help, but not the one you think of. It needs help with fighting endemic corruption. If it does not get rid of some corruption, none of the outsiders' help will help it.

Posted by: ella at January 19, 2010 1:27 AM

Some rise to an occasion and try to help, others whine and bitch and post violent nature videos on their blog.

Posted by: marquis at January 19, 2010 1:31 AM

Not with you on this one, Kate.

I have more respect for the folks who spend their own money trying to help someone else then the lefty slimers like biffman who want us to donate a certain percentage of our GDP to some foreign corrupt government. We know that kind of failure too well.

If some people want to travel somewhere and try and help a few people (understanding they're only helping a few and not changing the world) then all the power to them. Who am I to critisize?

(That being said I would not send kids to Haiti).

Posted by: langmann at January 19, 2010 1:46 AM

I say send more of the little darlings.....but make them and their chaperones find their own damn way home when the s&*t hits the fan.It doesn't take a Phd to figure out if you go into a hellhole,expect hell.
But then again,they were from Before Common sense land.

Posted by: Justthinkin at January 19, 2010 2:09 AM


“If some people want to travel somewhere and try and help a few people (understanding they're only helping a few and not changing the world) then all the power to them.”

I couldn’t agree more! I even cheered when they offered to be human shields for Saddam and he took them up on the offer. Remember chained them to some bridges and radio stations?

Something about natural selection comes to mind……………Freedom is about choices and we should each be free to make our own.

Posted by: Knight 99 at January 19, 2010 3:03 AM

As one who spends 75% of his life in 3rd world countries (not starting goat farms - which I know FA about), designing and buildind dams and hydroplants, a field in which I have 45 years of experience.

As a result of my peripatetic existence, I have a list of about 20 countries that I will not visit. Part of the reason is personal security. The other reason is that there is just no point. Whatever you do won't make a blind bit of difference.

Maybe the kids thought they were doing good. Adults should have known better. No lasting benefit, but possibly lasting grief, were the only possible end products of this endeavour.

Posted by: jlc at January 19, 2010 6:48 AM

Know what would REALLY change the world?

If everybody would just stay home and mind their own damn business.

But nobody gives out Nobel Prizes for that or makes a biopic of your life, so...

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle at January 19, 2010 6:49 AM

I'm with Kate and the Skeptics ('sounds like a great band name).

Having lived in a less corrupt and chaotic Caribbean country, but corrupt and chaotic nonetheless, I would NEVER send my children off on a field trip to Haiti.

Too many North Americans are uninformed and naive about the countries they happily send their children off to and, therefore, are unaware of the compromised positions they're putting them in and the very real possibility they could find themselves in trouble with no guarantee of a safe or lawful outcome.

Things don't work in Haiti and other third-world countries the way they work here. Their politics, their systems, are in chronic chaos and are seriously screwed up. Things can go badly askew very quickly and most North Americans are unequipped to deal with the realities on the ground -- even to not fluently speaking the language or understanding the nuanced social signals and conventions.

Then, an earthquake hits -- which is not uncommon in the Caribbean -- and KAPOW! The odds of disaster are exponentially heightened.

Posted by: batb at January 19, 2010 6:51 AM

I'm no expert but my spidey sense tells me the average garden variety Haitian knows more about goat farming than a bunch of high school kids
from BC.
Sounds like a feel-good exercise to me.

Posted by: atric at January 19, 2010 7:05 AM

atric: "Sounds like a feel-good exercise to me."

Yeah, for sure. You notice that the time that most of these "field trips" take place are during the North American winter. Trips to local beaches were probably part of the deal.

And, Kathy, re "If everybody would just stay home and mind their own damn business [that would change the world]," I agree. The grass always seems to be greener -- or browner, depending -- on the other side. We've got plenty of work to do right here in Canada, in our own backyard.

Posted by: batb at January 19, 2010 7:13 AM

Ah yes. Setting up a goat farm.

For some reason, when I read this, the Old Goat in me wanted to say something about the usefulness of things like lighting candles,joining hands, and other stuff like that. But before the mush-makers of the Nanny State put the horns to me....I'm just kidding...okay?

Posted by: Jamie MacMaster at January 19, 2010 7:19 AM

My high school trip was skiing in Vermont. It taught me two things:

1)How to ski better, and

2) That it is good to have money. So you can go skiing.

I remembered lesson number two even through all the subsequent years of university, where they tried to brainwash me that money was bad.

Ski trips are good. Trips to Haiti to set up goat farms? Probably not, even assuming you all get home in one piece with no disgusting diseases, or parasites. Like liver flukes.

Who the hell wants to hang out with a bunch of people so f-ed up that they can't organize a frickin' goat farm? What is a kid going to learn from that? People are stupid? They have to be controlled for their own good?

Yes! Hence the trip.

Posted by: The Phantom at January 19, 2010 7:58 AM

Incidentally I did visit Mexico in my youth. Solo.

I learned the value of zoning regulations and the Building Code. Which they do not have in Mexico.

What people fail to understand about Conservatives is that we are about making things work. Too much regulation does not work, as we know from walking out our doors every morning. Zero regulation does not work either, as we know from Haiti.

Substitute "customary practice" for regulation and one may achieve the correct balance of freedom and functionality. Its difficult to establish or maintain customary practices while doubling the population with immigrants every ten years. Particularly immigrants from places whose local customs include tribal warfare, kidnapping and slavery.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: The Phantom at January 19, 2010 8:27 AM

Like a lot of these forays for kids, it's less about helping the needy and more about enhancing
the kids' "self-esteem".
The kids return and demonstrate how caring they are and how they admire the locals because they're poor but oh, so happy with their lot.

Superficial exercise in self-promotion, ego feeding and guilt assuaging.

Posted by: atric at January 19, 2010 8:32 AM

"Even by the standards of Third World dysfunction, what country is such a basket case that it needs outside help to set up a goat farm?"

Well, I bet a bunch of kids from Kelowna or whereever would be able to to teach them about goat farming!

What we have here is the meeting of total dysfunction with the arrogance of ignorance.

Nothing good can come of it.

Posted by: jlc at January 19, 2010 8:32 AM

Biffman 7:48 If I want to see the third world, I get in my car and drive an hour north. There is enough money. What does that teach me? Haiti is Canada's #2 foreign aid cost but is controlled by the UN. The UN may endorse 3,500 more troops. The US has 7,000 there. That demonstrates a couple of things. The people have to work to change their lives. People that take a week to figure out what is going on. when they are responsible, aren't the guys to learn from.
I remember a youth group going to Detroit to build a church in the inner city. The parents cooked,baked and served. The kids rode a school bus and was kept away from being shot or raped. From a coccoon into another and back.

Posted by: Speedy at January 19, 2010 9:43 AM

"Superficial exercise in self-promotion, ego feeding and guilt assuaging."

Or a reality check showing them how the majority of people on this planet live and how good these kids have it in Canada. Ego-feeding or perspective-building - all meaningless semantics in the end. They've seen how fast everything can turn into nothing first hand and how fragile human life is. If that doesn't contribute to character-building, what will?

This thread is yet another ego-feeding round of self-congratulation for the cynics. Haiti's a terrible country. We know that. So what? What exactly is the point here - is it important for us to breed a generation of teenagers who don't know how good they have it in Canada? These kids are idiots for venturing out of their comfort zones?


Posted by: Blah at January 19, 2010 10:07 AM

As someone who works in development (currently in West Africa), I can tell you for certain that the "Goat" mission was not in any way about making anyone's life better except the students. They get a nice blurb on thier CV for admission to Development Studies at Carlton or somewhere else, and the teacher "advisors" pad thiers as well.

Please, they should have taken the 10-15K that the plane tickets cost, and sent it directly to a goat farmer to let him buy more goats, get them all vaccinated, and send his kids to a local school for a year. Now that's helping someone.

Posted by: jimmy at January 19, 2010 10:10 AM

Fred ... agreed !!!!
"... here's a real field trip, but since it is the Zionist Entity, CBC will ignore it.

at American Thinker

Israel's Disproportionate Response ..."

The MSM continually dump on Israel but ignore their humanitarian assistance.

Oh and where are the bastions of peace and humanity in Arab world such as Saudi , etc. ?

No doubt the CBC will conveniently ignore the pathetic assistance provided by the Arab / Muslim world to Haiti , or most humanitarian efforts in general.

Posted by: Brian at January 19, 2010 10:19 AM

"Superficial exercise in self-promotion, ego feeding and guilt assuaging."

Nailed it!

The argument against Kate today has been that: It's the thought that counts.

Well, that is very good if you are interested in raising liberals; but, I'm more concerned about seeing RESULTS whether it's for my kids or myself regardless of the endeavour. The bottom line is, if you are truly interested in providing a learning experience for your children, you first must make sure that there will be some tangible results/benefits for their work.

Is it any surprise that the school and the teachers are not interested in real tangible results, but instead the focus in on intentions?

I'm with the Phantom, we'll stick with the kids volunteering at the local soup kitchen during the holidays and reward our kids with a safe and active vacation.

BTW, my class went to Expo 86 in my grade 6 year. I got to see many pavilions from third world countries.

Finally, do you suppose that given a second chance these parents would send their kids again? Do you suppose that these students will be likely to send their kids on a similar trip in the future?

Posted by: Indiana Homez at January 19, 2010 10:19 AM

if you ain't bin to one of these third world crapholes, do so before you send your kids there

Posted by: GYM at January 18, 2010 5:55 PM
Exactly GYM.

Plus, I will say this on my own accord, I ain't sending my lil lilly white kid to a black haitian hellhole. Are you people insane ?

Posted by: Ratt at January 19, 2010 10:39 AM

The goat farm venture was no doubt well-intentioned ... some might even say noble. However, the entire fiasco was misguided and foolhardy, bordering on stupid. As anyone with any knowledge of history knows, Haiti has been basically lawless since the Tonton Macoutes was disbanded in 1986 and the country was certainly no paradise when those thugs were given a free rein to commit atrocities at will.

The parents of the children involved probably had vacationed in Puerto Plata and thought that, since the Dominican Republic and Haiti share the same island, the countries are quite similar.

Well, Haiti ain't the Dominican Republic by any stretch of the imagination.

Ignorance is not alway bliss.

Posted by: biffjr. at January 19, 2010 10:57 AM

I can forgive the youthful naïveté - most of it installed by the utopian transnational progressives indoctrinating them in the public education system these kids are forced to endure. They'll wise up and reject utopian collectivism when they see what's left of a paycheck from their first real job. There are no altruist utopians struggling to keep a home and raise kids these days. Carrying the burdens of decadent nanny state excesses has a way of creating conservatives in the productive class.

I'm just glad they got out of that hell hole alive - and it's not the earth quake that was the real threat to WASPy peace corps kids. It would have been a hard lesson in displaced pathos if these good deed doers came face to face with one of the many machete-wielding mobs roving the streets looting, raping and killing, like it was the national pastime.

Perhaps as part of their costly tax funded educational project their uber-progressive teacher should have marched them down the road a way to the other country on this tiny island. The Dominican Republic is a peaceful, prosperous and orderly nation in stark contrast to its perennial basket case Marxist neighbor - there's a good reason too.

Perhaps it's because they don't rely on social experiment tourism(foreigners setting up goat farms for them) for economic growth.

Posted by: Bill at January 19, 2010 11:49 AM

"Get cracking on that safe grad".

The victims may not have felt our host's verbal stiletto until the twist of the blade at the end.

Priceless, Kate.

Posted by: BJG at January 19, 2010 12:02 PM

I'm wondering if jlc could put up his list of 20 places NOT to visit and the reason for each. Like military intelligence, the best info is from those with feet on the ground.

Posted by: Texas Canuck at January 19, 2010 12:15 PM

A few years ago I went on a trip to the Dominican Republic, a resort of course, and we went on a cross country tour. They import Haitians to cut the sugar cane and while we were out in the sugar cane fields a couple of the ladies had to stop to pea. Our tour guide was Dominican and I remember him being quite nervous when a Haitian was walking along the road with a machetes that he used to cut the cane. He was quite happy when the ladies got on the truck and we could leave before the man got to us. He said the Haitians were "dirty" while we couldn't really tell them apart. At the entrance to the resort and on the beach, and anywhere that we stopped for any amount of time, we found a guard with a semi automatic weapon of some sort to protect us.

Posted by: Pandora at January 19, 2010 1:15 PM

Everything that can be said has been said so I'll just say that Kate is 100% right on this one.

Posted by: TJ at January 19, 2010 1:24 PM

I thought I was a bit of a conservative, but I guess I'm not. It turns out I don't make enough wild ass assumptions about things I don't know anything about, like nine out of ten of the above commentators do. I don't base my knowledge of foreign countries on what I see on CNN. I know because I've been there that the Canadian travel advisory is based on what is happening in a fifteen block radius around the embassy. I admire people who try to do things more than I admire people who sit on their butt and preach complacency. I dislike bandwagon mentality.

I know I'm not a liberal, but now that I'm evidently not a conservative either, I still feel good about myself.

Hey, there used to be a so-called Conservative Cruise back about 2004 or so. I entertained the idea of going on it, but a number of other considerations intervened. Now, however, I don't see it operating any more. Could it be that conservatives are so shit-scared of anything different than what they're used to, they all refused to go?

Posted by: kakola at January 19, 2010 1:46 PM

It is interesting today that people are so keen to give time and money to other countries but are uninterested in giving anything to their own country.

For instance these kids could work a little harder in school so that they actually knew something when they hit university, so that they could actually be challenged at the university level to reach new heights, and could hence do something useful for their country when they graduate.

But life has gotten too easy for too many, and it's far more fun and fashionable to spend time building goat farms in hell holes like Haiti.

Posted by: TJ at January 19, 2010 2:06 PM

I can't help but wonder if the BC school students had taken round-up ready soybean technology to the Haitian's, so that they would have a high source of protein in their diets, if the student's mission there would be considered so "noble".

Posted by: The Glengarrian at January 19, 2010 2:28 PM

This is unfamiliar territory for "new". It turns out, not a single Arab, Islamic dictatorship has sent a single penny, or a single person, to aid the relief effort. Oh well, at least they're consistent.

Posted by: dp at January 19, 2010 3:13 PM

Kakola, if you really read the comments you would know that no one is preaching complacency but common sense. Having travelled a good part of the world and my son just returning from backpacking through the far east for a couple of years it pays to understand the countries and more importantly the culture of the people in them. My son felt more safe in small villages in Vietnam that in areas of Toronto especially with large Jamaican populations.

Our kids have grown up with help just a yell or cell phone call away and this is what they are used to. In our Canadian culture we don't understand that life is cheap and you can be killed, raped or beaten in hellholes like Haiti over nothing and help can be non existent.

We can not understand why blacks in Toronto can pull out guns and just fire rounds at each other on crowded streets in the middle of the day or on the subway killing or wounding people. We have no exposure to that culture yet this mindless violence is endemic to places like Haiti.

Have you ever heard of any disaster like the tsunamia where the aid agencies had to provide armed escorts as they arrived to provide sustenance to the disaster victims? Shit can happen anywhere but why on earth would you risk sending your kids to Haiti?

Posted by: Dave at January 19, 2010 3:42 PM

This will soon be a major motion picture: "The Men Who Stared Idiotically At Goats".

Posted by: ebt at January 19, 2010 4:01 PM

Kids from the South Slocan.I find this amusing having spent a bit of time in that area.Was a hotbed of leftyism then and probably still is.Lots of back to the landers and The Sons of Freedom up Pass Creek so it is possible they have some good knowledge of goat farming and it must be also mentioned a very beautiful area of BC.It is one of the ridings that most always returns an NDP member to Victoria.

Posted by: cj gordon at January 19, 2010 4:04 PM

Hahaha, I agree with Kate. Any 12th grader who wants to get to know the Haitian Nation can matriculate at North Miami Senior High. Safer that way.

And loot? Hell yes, at my house twice in the past ten years.

Posted by: dr kill at January 19, 2010 4:28 PM

I think anybody who wants their grade 12 kid to experience life in the third world could save some money on air fare and sign the kid up for a semester at pretty much any Toronto high school in the Jane/Finch area, or Marc Garneau CI in Flemmingdon Park.

So if you'd think twice or three times about sending Junior to one of those lovely Canadian schools (and you really should, Junior could get majorly f-ed up) then let's not hear any more hand wringing about Haiti shall we? Haiti is just SO much worse, its like the Major League compared to PeeWee T-ball.

Posted by: The Phantom at January 19, 2010 5:13 PM

"Haiti are christian country"

Now THAT'S FUNNY new. Please come back tomorrow new I can always use a good belly laugh.

Posted by: Joe at January 19, 2010 6:53 PM

“new” >

This is the first time I think I agree with you!!!!!

“now they are dieing again you can say who care we see all african dieing of hunger too why should we care”

Yea, who cares! I think you may slowly be evolving into a real Canadian “new”. Keep it up you might actually get some friends.

Posted by: Knight 99 at January 19, 2010 7:26 PM

Posted by: Joe at January 19, 2010 6:53 PM

That was, er, news to me as well, Joe.

Posted by: Brent Weston at January 19, 2010 7:32 PM

Well Brent Weston I hear that for an encore new is going to announce that Saudi Arabia is a Jewish nation that loves dogs and pigs.

Posted by: Joe at January 19, 2010 7:47 PM

Saudi Arabia is ... or Saudi Arabia are?

Posted by: Brent Weston at January 19, 2010 7:56 PM

If you want your kids to see the worst of the world, encourage them to sign up with the Armed Forces and do a few tours in these "colourful" places. At least they'll have a means to defend themselves and the maturity to learn some valuable life lessons:

1. Life's not fair! There has never been and never will be a level playing field for all. There has always been a poor class, and there always will be a poor class... regardless of the style of government at work.

2. No matter how much help you try to give to a sh**hole country, you can't overcome the local culture. If lawlessness is the norm, you won't change it... all you can hope for is that the local population will eventually come to it's collective senses. This will not happen as long as foreigners are sticking their noses into their problems.

3. Rather than just sending our usual form of aid, the best results come from the locals figuring out solutions for themselves... if they need a hand bankrolling the solutions, by all means help. Obviously, this doesn't apply to the current natural disaster... for the interim Haiti needs our help!

Posted by: Stick at January 19, 2010 9:52 PM

Posted by: Stick >

"....encourage them to sign up with the Armed Forces and do a few tours in these "colourful" places".

Actually encouraging them to join Blackwater is far more sensible. Higher pay, better personal security, and none of those pansy Liberals to get in your way accusing you of war crimes.

Posted by: Knight 99 at January 19, 2010 11:08 PM

Texas Canuck at January 19, 2010 12:15 PM

Tex - I'll do that at another time on a more active thread

Posted by: jlc at January 20, 2010 6:45 AM

On whether "kids" should do mission trips to Haiti:

1. Grade 12's are not "kids". In other centuries they would have had their own blacksmithing or seamstressing businesses and two or three kids already.

2. Mission trips are well-organized and always done at the invitation of a local sponsoring organization that defines the need and provides the needed local street smarts.

3. Psychologists know that all teenagers, particularly males, MUST master something dangerous to complete their mental maturing process. Some tribes require all male teens to kill a lion, etc. Mandela's autobiography details the primitive circumcision ceremony teen boys of his tribe endure. Protecting teens or providing virtual experiences that they know aren't real (movies, Xbox) only defers maturity, and may be behind today's epidemic of inability to commit.

4. Teens need trips to needy places because we learn real compassion through exposure. Most needy places are dangerous. Haiti may be more so than most, but it also has a lot of helping organizations on the ground to provide guidance.

5. Do Haitians need someone to show them how to farm goats? Longstanding poverty causes loss of hope and depression, and depression causes "learned helplessness", a state in which you are actually unable to do things you once learned. Outsiders can bring a fresh infusion of hope and make a real difference.

Posted by: makoma at January 20, 2010 12:08 PM

I went to Haiti on a missions trip when I was a teenager, and it changed my life. Today, at the age of 35, I am reminded of the experience on an almost-daily basis. It made me a humbler, more compassionate, and stronger person, and I would recommend it to anyone -- especially to those in this thread who are so blinded by narcissism and cynicism that they're indignant over the idea.

We built an orphanage in Cité Soleil, and I can easily imagine what it might take to set up something as "simple" as a goat farm. At minimum, you'd need to build a barn, fencing, and housing. That means purchasing and transporting building materials. You'd need a functioning well. Animals would need to be transferred to the farm from wherever they're being purchased (without being stolen along the way). Finally, the people running the farm would likely need to be trained in business basics (making money, re-investing that money into the business, purchasing supplies, how to maintain animal health, etc.)

It's difficult to adequately describe the reality of life in and around Port-Au-Prince. I was only there for three weeks, but even as a teenager I was struck by the how the adults seemed very much like children in many respects. The simplest undertaking, like digging and building a latrine was revelation. They weren't stupid — you could see the light-bulbs going off over their heads as they figured out what you were doing, and they were eager to help — but these were people whose lives consisted of waking up wherever they'd fallen asleep, peeing and pooping in the common waterways (the same water where others were bathing), then begging, stealing, or trading for food until night fell.

We spent days teaching simple math skills, so they could trade, barter, or sell intelligently. Some of the people we worked with had never held money in their hands. Those who had often had no idea what it was worth, and it's common for the knowledgeable to take advantage of the ignorant.

I don't mean to ramble on, but many of the people there simply don't have the basic skills we take for granted — things that even "kids" can teach. Trips like this benefit everyone involved, and if they distract our kids from Transformers, Prada, or the goddamn Jersey Shore, I'm all for it.

Posted by: paul at January 20, 2010 12:58 PM

"We built an orphanage in Cité Soleil, and I can easily imagine what it might take to set up something as "simple" as a goat farm. At minimum, you'd need to build a barn, fencing, and housing. That means purchasing and transporting building materials. You'd need a functioning well. Animals would need to be transferred to the farm from wherever they're being purchased (without being stolen along the way)."

As I said earlier - "Canadian teenagers - doing the jobs that Haitians won't do."

In other words, you did stop to consider that what you just described is manual labour, right?


Posted by: Kate at January 20, 2010 1:09 PM

Kate, you must have missed the part where I noted that they were eager to help. And the part where I mentioned that they didn't know *how* to do these things. The mission isn't just to do, but also to teach. How you construe this as a negative thing is beyond me.

Posted by: paul at January 20, 2010 2:06 PM

Kate, you must have missed the part where I noted that they were eager to help. And the part where I mentioned that they didn't know how to do these things. The mission isn't just to do, but also to teach. How you construe this as a negative thing is beyond me.

Also, I'd be interested to know how purchasing materials, providing safe transportation for those goods, and teaching basic business principles can be described as "manual labor."

Posted by: paul at January 20, 2010 2:08 PM

I wonder how many goats you could by with the money these guy paid in airfare to get down there and back.

Posted by: Walsingham at January 20, 2010 3:21 PM

Mark Steyn on Goat d'Azur.

Posted by: Kathryn at January 20, 2010 6:51 PM