When Neil was 14, he spent 4 months in Nigeria with his mom and dad who went out there to work as missionaries. Once in a while, we talk about Africa. What he learned, what he thought, what he remembers and his stories about life there are as unique and contrasty as a zebra.
One thing that he has said on numerous occasions is that while there he was never bored. I know it sounds like a "so what" but there life is not about what's the latest fashion I can buy, there it is about survival. We have so much overabundance and our "needs" are so shallow that on a grand scheme of the world you couldn't drown an ant in that puddle. He always says that Africa is a different world. What we know here, in the Western world, for the most part is not how things work there. The rules, the norm, the system, the structure is not like it is here.
Another really cool thing that has stuck in my mind and also that I have read in
books is that Africans welcome their guests completely differently than we do. They give their best to the guest. The best bed in the house, the best food, the best whatever it takes, no matter how much it costs to them. Where we welcome guests and really just try to make them comfortable. I think there can be a big difference.
I am going to make a strong statement but I think I have seen it work and I am pretty sure that it's true. I think that when people have less, their hearts are softer and more humble. I don't know why but I've seen it time and time again. Where people have enough they are not as sincere and caring but in places where they don't have much, they are willing to give their last. It's hard to find a person who has enough who will give up their best and last to someone in need. I have to admit that I am the same way. I don't know why. Maybe because when you don't have you know what it's like? I don't know the answer but it seems like it's a principle that works across borders.