I write often about the 'superman syndrome.' To clarify exactly what I mean by that the superman syndrome is when volunteers enters a project thinking they are going to save the children, the animals, or the world.This can be detrimental not just to the volunteer, but to the project itself. We should come into a project and say, “How can I learn from you?” and not “Here I am to save you.” Even experienced doctors know they can not save everyone, however, they are aware that their service will be beneficial. And so will yours, no matter how small or big it is.
One of The Volunteer Bay's tag lines is “Make Your Travels a Learning Experience.” We never mention saving the world. Sometimes I fear that in my blogs, I come of as traveler pretending I understand sustainability perfectly. This is nonsense. I do not, and I frequently knowingly choose otherwise. There's this awful habit I have of taking hour long showers. Its such a waste of water, but the only way I can stop myself is when the hot water turns cold.
What we advocate here at The Volunteer Bay is personal development. Volunteering, simultaneously done with with travel, forces you to adapt to a new situation, community, or way of life. What we soon realize (or occasionally fail to) is that we must mold our ways to be pertinent to a project. Community leaders work with their real world constraints, and so must we.