So, you’re going abroad to an underdeveloped country. Good for you! Everyone is already impressed with your bravery and selflessness, but it’s important to make sure your help and goodwill have the most lasting effects – on social media! If Oprah and Angelina have taught us anything, it’s that giving solely for the sake of giving is a missed photo op and a waste of everyone’s time. The following photo tips may not give your host family easier access to clean drinking water, or provide them protection against parasitic worms and merciless warlords, but they will ensure that everyone you know sees that you are basically a living saint.
1. Cradling the child to your bosom.
The classic shot. Instantly invokes images of the Blessed Virgin Mary and that sad dust bowl mom. For added poignancy, stare off into the distance. Suggested caption: Any lyric from “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston.
2. While playing sports with all of the village children.
Women playing sports is already adorable, so this one is a no-brainer. Add a dusty, remote shanty town as a backdrop, and you’re golden. Suggested caption: “Who needs a personal trainer when you have these little cuties to kick your butt? Just kidding, Todd, I’ll be back in a few weeks, get those kettlebells ready!”
3. While wearing traditional native garb.
Really emphasize your newfound reverence for this developing country’s unique culture by incorporating it into your look. Be careful about camera angles though; dashikis do NOT cinch at the waist! Suggested caption: “I let my little host sister give me a makeover, and this is the most naturally beautiful I’ve ever felt in my life!”
4. The Family Portrait.
This quintessential shot of you and your host family (with you crouched down with their children, obviously) will show everyone how fully accepted, appreciated, and adored you are by the very people you came to help. Suggested caption: “They ended up teaching me more than I could ever teach them.” Or any lyric from Wicked’s “For Good.”
The most important thing to remember about your trip is that one person can’t really make a difference in the world, but she CAN look beautiful and benevolent while trying. You will forever cherish the posts you made on your timeline, so invest in a nice camera and get posting for all your family, friends, and vague acquaintances to see! After all, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does its Klout score go up? And if NPR never sends you your tote bag, was it even worth it to donate?