Yesterday, I gave you a glimpse of what I call the “Gimme” culture in Afghanistan.(Read yesterday’s post.)
Basically, I’m highlighting my suspicion that years of poverty, coupled with years of international donations rolling in have created an Afghan society where Afghans believe the only way they will achieve success is if someone else GIVES it to them.
I saw another example of this today.
Today we went to the Governor’s compound, to take part in a class for local Afghan women. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs was holding a class on how to profit from saffron. Many women attended.
Our team also attended. And, as always, we came bearing gifts. This time, it was the radios I usually distribute to the locals. We brought a couple of boxes for them, hoping the women would listen to the radio to learn more about what’s going on in the province.
Once the ladies heard we brought radios for them, they began to shove and push each other to get at them. (Very similiar to how we “civilized” Americans act every year at Walmart during Christmastime when a new toy is released.)
The ladies at the front of the line grabbed their radio, tucked it under their burka, and then WALKED TO THE BACK OF THE LINE! Shocked at seeing this, I thought about why they were doing it and came up with two possibilities:
- They were either trying to trick us into believing that they hadn’t yet received their gift (so they could get another one,) or
- They were simply acting in accordance with their “Gimme” culture, which to them means that if you want something (or more of something,) all you have to do is get in line and receive it.
One lady, who was upset that she didn’t get a radio, was yelling at us. She said, “I came from a long way, and I paid for a taxi to come here, and you don’t have any more radios to give me?!?!” (Remember, they were supposed to be coming for the saffron class.) Obviously, they EXPECT that anywhere Americans go, money follows.
Maybe that’s part of the problem here in the ‘stan.