One could say something similar happens in Latin America, or at least Paraguay. I have to admit I met some nice people doing an exchange in the countryside that at least learned our local languages and stuff… but then I met others that only smoked pod all the time. And they have the tendency to make joke of completely inappropriate stuff. For example… whenever there is a blond child in the street, there are called Peace Corps’s kids. Because in some cases they are, because Peace Corp guys come, find a pretty girl and they have a short romance with an “exotic girl” and then they leave but they leave a “remembrance” behind. If I am not mistaken, single mothers are one of the most common form of families in this country, and guys abandoning their families is a national problem. This country is very chauvinistic still and a girl is usually blamed for “letting herself become pregnant” and weird shit like that.
One day I remember hearing one Peace Corp guy saying that he wanted to “improve the race” by sleeping with a local girl. Sadly, I could only look at him disapprovingly and nothing useful came to mind. Then he said it was “just a joke”. No, dude, it is not a joke. The fact that he was white and thought that he could improve the other “race” was not something he came up on his own. Locally many people think that it is true, that one can improve by “mixing” with a wither person.
Apart from that… those who come with religion in their mind aren’t always bad… but the big issue is that if they go to the local indigenous communities then one can’t expect that these missionaries will respect the local belief and traditions of these communities. A couple of years ago, a Spanish priest - that usually does a fantastic job taking care of ill and dying people - wrote in a newspaper about the guaranies and the “Land without evil”. The idea of the Land without evil is an utopia, a land the guaranies have been looking for ages and it is believed that is that what made them nomads. Well… this priest wrote that the guaranies found that land without evil the day they met the Spanish people, that brought Christ with them. The problem is, as you may know, that religion wasn’t the only thing the Spanish brought with them. Nope, they brought disease, slavery, torture, etc. I don’t need to expand on this, it is known. I was not pleasantly surprised to find out that Spanish institution still send and support nouns and priest with the intention of convert indigenous people to a foreign religion. If someone wants to convert to a religion then it’s fine. The problem, I think, is that indigenous are still not respected or seen as capable and in some cases as people, at all. Their religion or traditions are not seen as valid. Therefore, I think that is not right to try and convert them if they have barely have time to recover their identities, specially after the dictatorship in the 70’s. I know that some priests have helped some indigenous people a great deal, by writing the language down and protecting them from Bandeirantes, but in many cases these interactions don’t seem to be so favorable for indigenous people. I mean, equating the Fire god to the devil… what is that? I think it erases cultural diversity.
Also about projects and donations… there are so many machines that were donated to the University that only went there to rot. Because, surprise!, no one knew how to use them.
Maybe it would be better to send locals to learn something outside, but maybe, just maybe, we should start looking at this South-South collaboration idea more seriously.