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I’m in a country with hundreds of millions of poor people. And I don’t mean the kind of poor people who have TVs and expensive jewelry. I mean poor, poor people.
Yet I’m staying at a Radisson, which is nicer than any hotel I would ever stay at on my own dime. I eat three ginormous meals a day that are either buffets, catered or home-cooked. Everytime I walk into the hotel I am saluted. I drive in cars and vehicles chauffered by others. I eat at the nicest restaraunts in town and am doted on quite frequently.
I’m supposed to be here helping people. Or at least helping an organization that helps people. But I can’t help feeling like I’m becoming one of those development imperialists who live like the rich while helping the poor.
When I was in Laos a few years ago all the UN workers parked their badass 4-wheel drives outside the nicest restaraunt in town and lived in the old French colonial mansions. I snottily looked down on them, but it looks like I’m turning into them.
I’m very uncomfortable with it. I feel much more at home in rickshaws, eating at darbars, not being saluted by a doorman, not having a doorman, etc. Hopefully I don’t get too used to this pampering. It definitely doesn’t feel like I’m in a poor country.
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