Development aid is not about punishing people. Not our own people, not our beneficiaries. It should never be about guilt, or about a debt owed. It should be about using our intelligence, our creativity, to make the world more inclusive.
It should never be about the typical Catholic rap of: “you should feel bad because you have it so good.” We need to look at all possible ways of bootstrapping our beneficiaries, pull them up to where we are, and continue together, beyond where we are now. Fundamentally, it’s about leaving this place a better place because we’ve been in it.
We should also dare to be open for the non-traditional solution, which may not perhaps be on or right next to the trodden path. As Robert Frost so eloquently wrote:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
You know, I’ve never really known whether this was a positive or a negative poem. But perhaps life is like that.