Where Does the Money Go?

Submitted by Carol Phelps

From what we've been told by people we've met in developing countries, much of the inflowing money does go to graft and corruption... and I imagine much of what we've heard is true, though who knows how much of the complaining by people who didn't get the money is sour grapes because they didn't get some/enough of the foreign windfall.

I'd like to think things go better when you work with individual local people, as our family does, but even then they're human beings, not paragons of selfless virtue... Now and then you hear how they "borrowed money from the school fund" to get their car repaired, etc.

And when you meet with locals employed by American NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), you can't help but notice that they're wearing nice suits and driving SUVs, while the other people in town are in rags and flip flops. It's all complicated by the patronage system so clearly laid out in the book, "African Friends and Money Matters". The "big man" takes half the foreign money for himself, and passes out $10 here and there to his relatives and supporters, and now and then invites them to a big goat or pig roast, and they're all thrilled.