2. Haha! What a witty and self-referential way of making your third point!

I think there is a 4th category: people just make up stuff, or they extrapolate from their experiences and biases, and really do not have any data to back-up their claims. But in that case, your injunction to aspiring writers should be to be explicit, e.g., “In my experience …” or “Based on conversations with (‘an informal survey of’ is way too pompous!) people in my (limited) social circle…” or the even weaker “It seems to me … which would be worth exploring through a pilot survey.”

In the paragraph you cite, the problem is not just with the unquantified “many” and “to an extent”, it runs deeper. Specifically, “given hope” is completely undefined, and definition is a precursor to measurement. Since it is so vague, anybody can easily claim to have “given hope to 93% of the children”. “Illiteracy”, on the other hand, is fairly well defined by various international org.s or governments, so if they actually did something (as opposed to handing out contracts for building schools and drinking chai) they should be able to give a number.

4. Totally with you, the citation reeks of condescension. The wanna-be writer would never write about their kibbutz experience (or working in a community garden) on an application to Monsanto or to any real job in the global north, but it is okay for well-meaning self-styled experts to putz around elsewhere without any cultural or linguistic or economic context, which you touch upon in 5.-7. (This is based on meeting a dude some years ago who had been to India volunteering for some NGO, stayed there for a month and had a miserable time! At that point I had encountered 1–2 westerners who had had a miserable time in India and nobody was friendly with him. So I asked him why. He had gone to India to teach organizations working in rural parts about the importance of using energy-efficient devices, and then launched into telling me about incandescents vs. fluoroscents and the percentage of each in use in India, but was, even after that experience, ignorant about the price differences or rates of electrification in villages! No wonder people there disliked him!)

5. This writer you cite is a privileged shit, I’m sorry. They continued to throw out expensive sweetened milk tea? And after their first experience, didn’t have the communication skills to tell their hosts they didn’t like it? That is just disgusting. I don’t think the villagers come across as out of touch, the author does not seem to have indicated their preference and comes across as a bit of a racist idiot.

6. “Experts”! Sometimes that is a way of saying “person who is limited to looking for solutions in the space of what they have learned”. This explains why there are so many “app-based” non-profits in the Bay Area — drunkards looking for their keys under the lamp-post.

I stop to miau to cats.

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