Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa

Back and Forth

I have swung too far on the greeting pendulum.

When I first arrived in Joburg, I was like a wide-eyed and bushy-tailed child.  I greeted everyone!  It was so refreshing to have them greet me back, unlike in Vancouver.

Then I shifted to other side of the spectrum.  All the disrespectful remarks from men in Hillbrow began to alienate me.  I started avoiding eye contact while walking.  I stopped acknowledging any greetings from men, regardless of which neighbourhood I’m in.

Yesterday, I read the following quote in Rainbow Nation Navigation:
“Always greet people!  It’s the ubantu way.  Ubantu is a value that’s shared by many South African cultures and that encourages kindness towards others.”

I agree with ubantu.  I think it’s a great characteristic!  And, unfortunately, I haven’t been following it.

From now on, I won’t disregard all unknown men because some of them are offensive.  I won’t let a minority dictate my reaction to the majority.

I’ll find the middle ground eventually.

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One thought on “Back and Forth

  1. Lynne Alton on said:

    Wish you well in this, Beth. I continue to read your daily blog and follow your amazing, unfolding journey in Johanesburg. I love the word ubantu.
    Stay well.
    Lynne

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