Our focus at Humanitarian XP has always been love—developing real relationships with the people we interact with and with one another. At first glance, that can be perceived as self-serving. However, the relationships developed on trips turn into real friendships that are mutually supportive, and through social media, often last indefinitely. We hope to constantly improve as we continue learn more about the needs of the people we love. As humans, and as Christians, we believe that is all we can ask one another. What are some of Humanitarian XP’s sustainable policies? No Trace Trips To encourage self-reliance and avoid creating dependencies by giving things away for free in the communities that we work in, Humanitarian XP prohibits bringing any donation items including gifts, candies, and monetary contributions. We also ask every Builder to return home with all personal items that they bring into the area so we don’t add to the disposal problems in the areas where we work. We want to make sure our projects don’t have negative long-term outcomes for the communities we serve. Photos with FriendsTaking photos with less fortunate children all over the world has become a problematic emblem of negative Voluntourism. At Humanitarian XP, all youth and trip leaders are encouraged to develop friendships and to know names before taking pictures with people. Builders and locals then maintain ongoing friendships through social media and other platforms. These relationships are mutually supportive and are often cherished for a lifetime on both ends. Love and Respect Culture One of the best parts of a Humanitarian XP trip is learning to love a new culture. Builders can show gratitude and appreciation for the people that so generously welcome us into their lives is by respecting their culture. This can be done in a variety of ways. Builders can show respect by the clothing they wear. Some countries have traditional clothing that they share with us, and Builders can show appreciation by honoring this clothing and wearing it appropriately. Other places have different standards of what appropriate dress means, and we can honor the country and culture by dressing according to this more modest standard. When coming into a new culture, your attitude is SO IMPORTANT. Be thoughtful in your reaction when something is new or unfamiliar to what you’re used to, and catch yourself before falling into an attitude of condescension or criticism. Always remember to be kind. Your narrative about the culture when you come home makes a big impact on others! When you go home from your trip, focus on the positive parts of your experience. Things like “The food was really different, there were a lot of things I didn’t recognize, but I tried it!”, rather than “The food was so gross.” will go a long way. Learn the LanguageLearning even a few words and phrases from the country language goes a long way to show appreciation—even in locations where English is the main languages. Try everyday to learn something new! Don’t be afraid to ask about traditions, language, favorite foods—anything. We’ve found that when we ask, people are so excited to share their culture.