About 5 years ago we returned to the states from Africa and I experienced a huge culture shock. I was so surprised and extremely unprepared for the emotional roller coaster and had very few tools to help me understand these conflicting views and philosophical musings I found myself engaging in about life. I wanted to be neutral, but knew that everything was skewed by my personal experiences. I had to be comfortable with that knowledge and accept the truth about myself and those around me. And the truth is that I had come to realize that I understand people from a limited viewpoint, and I don't always agree with certain cultural norms. I saw a rugged, organic kind of care and compassion that comes in community that can't be purchased.
Everything seemed to be shared corporately where we were living in Zambia. If you had a well with running water, you shared it with all your friends. And you were happy to do it. Actually it was an honor because water was prized - especially clean water. Your neighbors came to wash their clothes and you helped them. Their children brought plastic gas containers recycled into water carriers and filled them at your spigot or hose. Or you gave a friend a piece of soap and they had a jolly time bathing in your water supply. Plates and dishes, pots for boiling water over the fire were all washed at your well. This went on all day long, into the dark night and they never ran out of conversation or smiles. Their need became a social event filled with laughter, sharing, caring and honoring the needs of others.