By joining a commercial tour group, one can experience much in a short period of time and see a great deal while being "herded around" in a rushed, somewhat impersonal way. But you miss the essences of the country. By volunteering, you have instant access to the "real" country and people and you become part of it. Plus you gain a feeling of having helped and being useful. From a tour, one may have great photos, etc. But they can not compare with the memories, photos, etc. of the smiling faces of orphaned girls you helped or the four year old who learned to say YELLOW or the university students who wanted to talk about the US.
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