When things don’t go as planned…

Sometimes we set out on a mission to change the world.  Or to help others.  But in the end we find that the world changes us.  That those we intend to help, actually help us.  Because, in fact, they have just as much to teach us as we have to teach them.

And recognizing this doesn’t mean rejecting your own culture, but rather respecting another.

While it may not be convenient to have to stop at the vegetable seller, the butcher, the bread oven, the dairy, and the man selling fruit just to stock up on food for the day, you create relationships with these people.  Hear their stories.  Know the person who relies on your purchase to feed his family.  While knowing that yes, a one-stop shop may seem much easier, it’s not really that bad.  So please, don’t feel like you need to put a big-box, one-stop shop in my neighbourhood.

A place where venti mocha frappucinos to go don’t exist.  But rather the cafe filled with people enjoying their coffee with friends or a newspaper in the cafe rather than racing after the bus or to the next appointment.

Or that the latest technology may not be the best solution for every society.  In fact, it may even destroy the community.  And local traditions.

And children don’t have to be treated like a delicate species.  That not having the latest toy or an after-school activity every night of the week is OK.

That simple sometimes is better.  Less is more. And living doesn’t require a million dollars.

All that to say, I was less than impressed with the news that Wal-Mart will be opening up in South Africa.

4 thoughts on “When things don’t go as planned…

  1. Chica – you know the depth of my loathing for Walmart… but here is a story I found interesting and humbling. A Walmart opened up in the small town in Mexico while I was living there. Like many expats, I was horrified. However, many Mexicans I spoke to looked forward to the store’s presence in the community. It was a place they would be able to afford to shop, and it brought in quite a bit of employment. I admit I held my tongue after that. Who was I to preach to them? And even if it is bad for the community, is my deriding it (and so in a way their welcoming of it) a modern form of cultural imperialism. My hatred of all things Walmart survives intact, but I thought the Mexican reaction was interesting and one I should be respectful of, given I don’t walk in their shoes.

    1. I agree. I see that here as well. But with respect to Wal-Mart in South Africa, I read about protests, anger etc in response to its arrival. They have such beautiful locally-made products here, why do we need to introduce the made in China crap?

  2. I feel the same way about living in this underdeveloped country of Nicaragua and it despairs me when the big bright redClaro symbol pops up everywhere on the sides of buildings etc.It is a big communications company like Rogers in Canada and it looks so out of place and I really do not think it is going to improve the lives of the people here…if anything I think it may destroy many.

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