If, as a westerner, you are going to visit Africa, the earlier in your life you do it, the better. The writer also brings up the paradox of service missions:

I suspect my earnest young woman felt that the only “appropriate” way to interact with Africa was to roll her sleeves up and start hammering a wall into place or digging a latrine. That is certainly what most British politicians do when they go to Africa. The charities that organise student gap years also seem to regard building schools in Vietnam and digging wells in Malawi as the best use of their volunteers’ time. It’s bizarre, when you think about it. The one thing the developing world has a surplus of is physical labour.