DIVERSITY NEEDS A STAGENovember 26, 2023
TO CALM DOWNDecember 10, 2023
A participant of an event where I was a keynote speaker once asked herself during her visit to Kenya.
We’ll call her Lucy here.
Lucy was moved by my talk about diversity and how we can use simple tools to create understanding in everyday life.
One tool that Lucy wanted to confirm with an anecdote over dinner was:
“If you observe something ‘strange,’ seek a conversation instead of rushing to judgment.”
Lucy observed that mangoes were available in abundance at her vacation spot. She enjoyed these fruits, which usually don’t taste nearly as sweet in Germany.
Lucy also wondered why no one thought of preserving these mangoes.
After deep conversations, she came to the conclusion that the people in this area do not need this conservation thinking. There are always mangoes all year round.
This stockpiling is alien to many cultures in Kenya, I confirmed Lucy.
As far as I remember my time in Kenya, it didn’t occur to us to preserve mangoes. Although today I admit that it would have been good for us.
When I admire this winter landscape like I do today, I think that one of the reasons why the average Kenyan doesn’t think long-term is:
There is no occasion like winter. There is no reason to “think in terms of stocks.”
So why ensure tight doors and windows or why think long-term?
Currently, in order not to miss my appointment tomorrow, I am already thinking about what time I will get up in case I will clear the sidewalk before my departure. Thoughts that a Susan in Kenya would never think about.
We practice in and thanks to winter. On average, we think more long-term and are more planning than the Susans in Kenya.
However, this very planning thinking robs us of flexibility in this country – something that Susans in Kenya are more capable of.
You see, no matter what the origin of a habit is, we can always learn from each other and be understanding of each other if something seems “strange” to us.
For you in Germany/Switzerland: Understand if non-locals don’t come along so far, because long-term thinking in Kenya, for example, is a value that is not ranked as high as here.
Be understanding if your new neighbor hasn’t understood the snow shoveling thing yet.
You are welcome to point this out to him/her empathetically. An opportunity to get to know each other better.
It’s always exciting to find out what shapes us.
Do you have additions or a story like Lucy that makes for more understanding?