Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ode to a Development Consultant

Your come with fancy degrees for sure
Harvard Kennedy
Princeton Wilson
Georgetown, Syracuse and Yale

You drive in SUVs through ghettos
Camera flashes, notebooks crinkle
Photographs for exhibitions
To show what all you have seen
This wretched country you have been

You stand before a poor man's house
Children, people tumble out
Stand before you with folded hands
They don't love you
They just know, this is where the money is
Cotton prints are a beacon
Mark you out for who you are

And in the soft, dusty evenings you gather
In fine hotels and drink champagne
Blow kisses, and talk and talk
Do you compare hungry babies?
Size of misery you have seen?

Chips of yam and wine of palm
Drunk on a floating island calm
Feet in spa, arms in ocean
Dancing, desserts on the house

You love this job, it gives you money
Lets you meet men of power
Politicians, businessmen
Those very same who rob this land
For years untold and do again

Governments love you
And why not!
You spin the wheel of fortune and
Hand out money, line their nests
With your money for the half dead

If you lived in a village
In a hamlet, then you'd know
There is no such 'power sharing'
No such grassroot, no consensus
All we have are landed goons
Who grab and grab, all they can


David I. Levine said...

A powerful message to my peers and me. Thanks for the reminder.
- David L.

Chinmayee said...

Thanks David. Also a kind of reminder to self...I too was once some sort of a dev consultant

Keyon said...

This seems to paint "development workers" with a broad brush. Were those who were killed trying to provide dentistry in northeast Afghanistan really drinking champagne in fine hotels?

Chinmayee said...

You seem to have missed the point Keyon. This really isn't about development economists (as I clarified on Chris Blattman's blog), journalists, doctors or charity workers.

I thought the meaning quite clear- but if it isn't obvious- this is a reference to certain types that work within international organizations, international NGOs them development work isn't about making the world a better place. I'd suggest you try working within one of these organizations to catch a glimpse of this type.