1. Drivers: the story of returning to Arusha.
Expat aid workers love drivers because drivers are accustomed to expat aid workers. Expat aid workers like to practice speaking new languages, and a driver will usually smile and indulge when in actuality his English is much better than the expat aid worker’s attempts at whatever other language.
2. Randomized Control Trials: the story of my dissertation (and who I really want to be).
For all of their number-crunching, “hard evidence”-obsessed, not-quite-really-relevant-in-the-real-world nerdiness, deep down most academic experts on “development” or “foreign aid” want to be Expat Aid Workers.
Even the late-adopters will eventually understand that RCTs are the wave of the future, precisely because RCTs will enable EAWs to provide those savvy, evidence-based donors with the proof-positive needed in order to feel good about having “made a difference” (forget a picture of the goat that I bought for a family in “Africa” – I want real evidence).
3. Describing oneself as a nomad: the story of my strategy to avoid a midlife crisis.
Expat Aid Workers are not sitting in a suburb somewhere watching the grass grow: they’re out there flying by the seats of their pants, never planning farther ahead than the end of their current contract, going to places that their parents probably cannot find on the map, and mingling with the bottom billion.