Drop a stone in the middle of the pool. Watch its ripples spread wider and wider across the surface. Inevitably – sometimes sooner than later – the ripples mingle and apparently disappear among the others. Cause and effect: A simple action creates immeasurable, unpredictable and unforeseeable results.
Among development professionals, this provokes roughly equal amounts of fascination and frustration. Fascination, because anyone with a mote of interest and natural curiousity is quickly engrossed by the flow of events as human cultures mingle and change. Frustration, because at some point it will be necessary to say to a donor, ‘Your money will have exactly this effect.’
And that will be a lie, of sorts.