Hi Ralf and Mell,
Ralf, I appreciate your point and agree with a lot of things you are saying. The point of the health insurance is more than an important one. Mell, to your answer, it has nothing to do with being human or not. In most places in Asia, you pay first to get medical care....even if it is an emergency. This is a sad reality, but it's still one. So if you don't front the money, or do not have a cover, as Ralf does, you are a burden. In China, if you need your leg to be operated...and cannot pay...they don't let you in the street, they simply cut your leg...while it could have been save with a nice operation. That's a sad reality.
I do not make any critics on people on budget. That's not the point I was making. If an average income is less than 2 usd a day, 10 usd is not a lot. Because you are on the move, and therefore prices are not the same. A room charge for a day is not the same as the per day price you would pay to live in the same place for a year.
The point I do is share by a lot of people all around Asia where I live, and I speak of locals. If you do behave "cheaper" than the locals, you don't bring much. And this is not to make a point between being rich or poor. This is the view of a lot of the communities you do visit.
Ralf, you do have a point with a lot of the voluntering....it's all depend how it is managed.
The point is not the divide rich/poor. The point is what you bring to a community. Staying in a cheap all inclusive resort in Jamaica...bring very little to the comminuty. Do it in a very expensive all-inclusive...does not bring much more, it just create more jobs.
Now Mell, I won't agree just to put in on a political view point. Visiting countries like Myanmar, North Korea or Zimbabwe do rise that issue. I did Zimbabwe and do not regret. People there tell you...if you don't come...we will have nothing left to eat...so the point is to chose wisely your operator. For Myanmar, you can chose to stay in private places, let it be budget or not, and make some kind of difference. In North Korea, it is not possible. A lot, no...all the money you do is going to a bad governement. Should we go? I've got friend who did it...and who are doing it. Are there right...well, they are the ones that are going to speak about the place after and who could help to change it. This is why I'm very cautious to jump to conclusions.
Staying with a family does bring something. Staying in a hotel which sponsor the local school and give jobs to much of the local community may give even a bigger impact. What is important is to do it, whichever, and whatever your abilities.
Ralf, I agree that we travel the way we want, the way we can, and this is great. It's our choice and our lifestyle. It's just great to know that tourism today, in a lot of countries, is the biggest contributor to the economy and sustain a huge part of the job sector. That's the point I'm doing. We have our pleasure, this is great, but raising the level around is as good also.