The thing about consultants is...
They borrow your watch, tell you the time and charge you $500 a day for the privilege
They always arrive on a Friday night
They always look confident when everyone knows they're thinking 'what country is this?'
They talk of participation but have arrived with the log frame already filled in
They put garbage on their screensavers, like 'end world poverty now'
They come without a laptop and use the office computer
It takes two staff half a day each to show them how to use your version of email. Which is never as good as theirs. Or as quick.
They're always logged on every single time you want to send an email
They always need to change money NOW
They tip everyone and make you feel like a mean bastard
One's preferred response to everything they say is 'bollocks', or 'OK smart arse, you do it'
They say they're self sufficient and then sulk when you drop them at the hotel at 5.30
They're keen to know about the local culture, which is to them a constant source of fascination
They've read Freire. And claim to undertand him.
They ask you 'what is your understanding of development management?'
They snort at the word 'football'
They believe that you have no pressing family commitments for the entire period of their stay
They are charming to your partner
They learn 5 words of the local language from the hotel receptionist and use them for two weeks. It's 5 words more than you know.
They expect to be picked up and dropped off and run around in between times in the only office car
When you make even the slightest criticism of any aspect of the local culture, they give you a look that says 'fascist'
They don't acknowledge that the office closes at 5.00 and that if they stay sending distressed emails around the world the service staff has to stay too
They ask if they can make personal phone calls and say they'll pay but get upset when you give them the bill
Some of them wear sandals. Some of them have beards. They all change into national dress within two days.
They're all reading "Captain Corelli's Mandolin"
Not one of them owns up to voting Conservative
They all take homeopathic medicine
They adore pasta
They think that the 'No Smoking' sign doesn't apply to them
They think that the sign in your car which reads "Listen bastard, don't smoke" means it's OK to ask "Is it all right if I have the window down while I light up?"
They think that 'No' means 'Please, go right ahead'
The staff really like them and are sad when they go
They always leave at midday on a Saturday
They always leave for a country you'd like to go to
They believe in development
They can't be sued.
They come back
They get paid more than you do
(Anything you'd like to get off your chest, Geoff? At all? - Ed)