Being my first time in another country I realize how little I have pondered all the things worth pondering and if you know me at all, you know I love to ponder.
My husband visited a steel fabrication yard, massive in size yet disorganised in some form of calm chaos. The welding exceptional, faultless even and all from men living in shantytowns with homes constructed from tarps, broken pieces of timber and scraps of bricks. Despite which end of the economic spectrum one may sit and regardless how far the two extremes may lie, we all do the same thing in the end and that is make the best of any situation. Some just try harder than others, learn more in the process and accept the things they cannot change. I wasn’t one of those people so as I drove past homes transformed into places of business along a dirt road in a dessert, surrounded by nothing but mountains of more dirt (like the dust weren’t reminder enough), I found myself a little jealous but grateful. Jealous that I didn’t make the most of the opportunities I had with the same amount of dedication and determination as what we have witnessed here but grateful I don’t have the time over to try again because what I saw looked like hard work.
So the first thing worth pondering is opportunities, something I have clearly thrown a blind eye towards.
There are opportunities and then there are the opportunistic. It’s true; crime and corruption exist here but we see crime in all shapes, sizes, forms and economic circles all over the world. There are many many more honest ones; the eager one and then you hurt his feelings. Well maybe not you, but me.
We went shopping for furniture at what would be best described as the markets. Hundreds of small stalls of furniture well under what you would pay in the shopping malls. Simon and I were advised that bargaining was the norm so when we attempted to bargain I was surprised to get the reaction I did. The look on this young mans face, patient young man with the language barrier taking up a great deal of his time, was a look I misinterpreted at first. I assumed he was annoyed and a little surprised perhaps. We agreed to go half way but I couldn’t let go of that look he gave me.
After weeks of this look haunting my memory, I finally settled on the fact that I offended him. It was not a look of eagerness to make a sale but one of eagerness to provide a quality piece of furniture at a great price, by far the best deal in the entire premises. Perhaps a family member, his father, uncle or grandfather made the furniture. I have seen many furniture making shops/homes on the side of road in many districts and there would be many more I would never see in this vast city with millions of people. Is it possible that when we bargained, we belittled?
If I could take that moment back, I would. Of all the people and organizations and shops we have dealt with to find our home and furnish it, this young man, the one with a beat up station wagon and torn sneakers, provided the best and most professional experience we have had to date. Thank you young man.
What would one feel when you are proud of what you have, what you can make with what you’ve got and the length you can go when you don’t look too far ahead?
I need a tan. My arms are blinding me while typing on the computer.