The one quote that comes to my mind most these days is this one from Mark Twain:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
I grew up with travels to Asia, and while the behaviour there might be similar in some aspects, Africa is a whole different thing. I’m still not 100% sure what to make of the people, and I still catch myself making hasty judgments and quick decisions on the character of some people. Then I get surprised. I get surprised by the woman who, even after I paid and was about to leave the store called me back to tell me that she made a mistake and I still get some money back.
I get taken aback by the guy who, after we thought he’d just disappear with our money, came back to give us the exact change, he just didn’t have it on him and had to change money himself.
I’m surprised by the woman who refused to sell us a product she saw was damaged and offered us a different one instead.
I keep my eyes, ears and mind open and I’m constantly surprised by all this kindness. Kindness, I did – in my own narrow-mindedness didn’t expect. It makes me feel so guilty that I catch myself being surprised by this kindness and honesty. Working on this is an ongoing process.
Now you know why this quote holds so much truth.