In some circles it seems to be necessary to say certain things regardless of whether or not they’re true. The development aid scene is no exception – people say things like: “It is amazing to see how much can be done through education,” as if the lack of education would be the reason for the lack of development in third world countries. This is so NOT true. It works for giving some kind of an explanation to people in the first world who never have the chance to check the truth of this statement in the third world. It also works for maintaining a constant pressure on first world countries to continuously fund development projects. But the problem is that this way only the symptoms are dealt with – never the root of the problem. Here are a few examples from a developing country. #1: At the local hospital a nurse was treating a patient with tools that were still bloody from treating a previous patient – an educated nurse. Did they not teach her that using unclean tools can cause the spread of disease? That is hard to imagine. More likely is the obvious: A mindset of neglect, of carelessness that is still dominant in spite of all her education. #2: When a gate was put into the wall surrounding a house two empty cement bags were cemented into the wall and left sticking permanently out of the wall. Does it take several years of formal education for a construction worker to know that empty cement bags do not belong in between the stones and pillar of a wall? Again, the mindset of neglect, of total carelessness is obvious: Why should one perform work with excellence when one gets away with much less? The world doesn’t come to an end just because two empty cement bags are stuck in a wall. Who cares? But addressing the obvious – a mindset of carelessness – as the root of the problem requires uncomfortable change. It also requires a deeper look at the factors that contributed to this mindset, but this goes against the modern spirit of everybody being right, and no one being wrong. In the end no one wants to call out the obvious root of the problem. Maintaining a fairy tale that everybody likes to hear is so much easier.