‘Self Respect’ Kingston’s Journey #153

One Needs to Reciprocate

There is always a quid pro quo. The essence of this term is you do something for me & I do something for you. It’s a matter of pooling resources to advance common interests. Like a pot luck, everyone eats, but I may like fish and you may like chicken. Or Christmas, gift exchanges. Of course in some countries, this exchange of value is easy.

Take Nigeria for example, this is a country where I’ve spent the vast majority of my time. It’s simple. The value that people want here is money. Cash in hand, you can buy almost anything imaginable. It’s quite scary when you think about it and I won’t get into details on what you can purchase, but the point one must pay others in the currency they so desire, and it’s not always money.

But Do It In Their Language

Now I’ve visited quite a number of different countries these past few months and what I’ve learned is that peoples in other parts of the world have self respect. That is, you cannot just give someone money and expect them to do whatever you want them to do. They will even refuse or be offended by such an offer. Even if they are in dire straights.

The world is not so simple. A suitcase of cash will not necessarily convince someone to sell their family home. Some people have pride that cannot be bought. With these intricacies, one must remember to pay people in the currency in which they desire. This is often times not money. It could be a bottle of wine, a postcard, words of gratitude, an item of high utility of memorabilia.

The point is, money cannot buy everything. Just as dollars are not accepted everywhere. So when engaging with others and knowing that there is a quid pro quo, have multiple currencies available.

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