Sunday, June 27, 2010

To Give or Not to Give?

By Victoria Hoe (SMBA '11)

While on the trip, I often found myself considering the potential implications of giving away free gifts to the children. Many of our local guides referred frequently to the idea of "paternalism" and the potential of increased dependence on hand-outs. We were also told that roughly a third of the nation's economy was based on remittances, that is, payments from friends and family members in other countries (mainly, the U.S.) back to the D.R.

While baseball has given an enormous amount to the island, it's also created a situation where by many young people see success as a Major League Baseball player as the only option for financial success. I wondered if, by giving a gift as simple as a baseball, we were in fact playing a role in reinforcing a dream that only a small fraction of people will ever achieve. Should we be giving something else? If so, what? Overall, the trip was a great learning experience and provided the framework to ask dificult questions such as these.

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