I recently came back from Mozambique, a country with an annual average income of $400 per person. During the experience my brother, best mate and I met a bunch of fantastic people; one of them was an American girl at the end of her 2 years of volunteering. She had lived and volunteered in a village of no more than 200 people and was the only foreigner in the community. It was her responsibility to implement funded projects and initiatives amongst the community.
She had insight into their culture like no observation I could absorb passing through for a week so I questioned her on the cultural differences she found most profound. She said that living with the community was like a feeling she had never felt before, after they warmed to her presence she felt as if she was one of them.
The first thing she thought was different was their sense of lone time. They wouldn’t spend time by themselves in their room. The only time a member would be inside would be for sleeping or being sick. She laughed as she mentioned ‘people would come up and knock on her doors to see if she was ok if she spent too long inside’.
Second difference she noticed was the way they treated trusted visitors. When a guest was in town it was the deepest honor to have them there and the community would do it’s part in making that person feel welcome. When she was walking through the streets of her village many of the locals would invite her in for tea. They would invite her in, make her a cup of tea then continue with their daily activities, cleaning the house, washing the clothes etc.
The third difference she noticed was the prevalence of the pay it forward mentality in the community. The locals would drop everything for funerals, even if they didn’t know the person directly. They were a community and supported each other.
How and why has it all become so different?