Friday, May 31, 2013

A Bad Jembe

My bad jembe that can't dig a proper hole.
“It is OK,” said Pastor John trying to make me feel better about the fact that I had just dug a hole for a tree that did not meet his standards.  “It must be your jembe.”

Must be my jembe?  I smiled.

I had heard about this cultural difference, but had not seen it on such vivid display yet.  Here in Kenya, personal responsibility is often not assigned to someone when something goes wrong.  In America, if a friend is at your house and drops a plate and it shatters to pieces, we know they did it and it is their fault, but we try to make them feel better by saying something like:

“Don’t worry about breaking the plate.  That plate had a chip in it anyway and I was going to throw it out.”

Here you would not say such a thing because your friend did not break the plate - the floor did.

So there I was on the mountainside with 10 RVA students and a local pastor planting trees.  When Pastor John saw the hole I had just dug, he thought there should have been more loose dirt in the bottom of the hole.  He asked for a different jembe and did a bit more digging while saying:

“It is OK.  It must be your jembe.”


susieloulou said...

In Mexico, you didn't drop the plate. It "fell from you." Darn plate!

Mama Ds Dozen said...

Wow! Very interesting. I think this is something that needs to be shared with Adoptive Parents of African Children. We saw this hugely in all 3 of our children from Ghana. Even 5 years later we have serious issues with trying to explain cause and effect to them.

May I share your post on my blog (with links)?

Mama Ds Dozen said...

Susieloulou . . . that is so interesting. We have had many plates "fall" from the hands of our adopted children, and they take no responsibility for it. "The plates just fell out of my hands."

Yes. It is clearly the plates fault. Very Interesting . . . .

mama of 12

CrazyD said...

Feel free to share as you see fit.