Guest Introduction: Giving and Volunteering in The Americas

by | May 14, 2002

Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and volcano eruptions are all natural disasters that strike Latin America with tragic frequency. They can bring out the worst in the society-corruption, looting, greed. They can provoke social organization and change, most obviously in the 1972 earthquake that eventually led to the overthrow of the Somoza dynasty in Nicaragua.

But these natural disasters can also bring out the best in people, the kind of giving and volunteering that brings a society together. Here, in Anita Baca’s tender photoessay of post-Hurricane Mitch cooperation in Honduras, we can see what she calls “subtle forms of philanthropy.” They range from a local man dressing up in a Santa suit on a sweltering hot day to entire village pulling together to rescue the remains of their possessions.

Spring 2002Volume I, Number 3

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