Within the aid community, jokes are told about the disconnect between lifestyles of aid workers especially expats and the communities they serve. Even the scriptwriters of The Night Manager have thrown in lines around this. In a scene in Episode 5, arms dealer Roper and night manager-turned-spy Jonathan are traveling deep into Turkey’s countryside, close to the Syrian border. They came by refugee camps.
This landscape is suddenly broken by taxis on the roadside.
Who are the taxis for? asked Jonathan.
Western aid workers who can’t get to the airport fast enough, replied Roper.
Ha ha. Just because accounting needs receipts.
I remember the time at my former INGO office when I had an argument with accounting staff. She didn’t allow my liquidation of PHP350 bus fare (Manila-Baguio) which I incurred right after I got down at NAIA from an official trip. It was Friday and of course I was headed home for the weekend. My contention was how come they allowed the liquidation of a colleague (my companion during the business trip) who charged PHP750 taxi fare she incurred from NAIA to somewhere in Laguna where she resides. The same logic applied to both, I said. My complaint reached their department head who immediately allowed the expense and explicitly ruled that such are allowable in the future.
Anyway, back to the taxis. Some rules are designed in such a way that they trump common sense logic.