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As I continue my help in Livingstone Zambia I am very sensitive to the fact that a highly evolved person has to be very careful and sensitive about imposing asertiveness skills to people without understanding the culture or good intentions can backfire and even cause harm.

For example, I am in Zambia several times a year . After FOUR years, the manager at the hotel trusted me enough to say the following:

"The reason you volunteers, missionaries and NGO's do not get anywhere long term with us is because you do not understand our hidden traditions. There are many. We keep them from helpers. Here is one:
A gizzard in a chicken is the most important part. If a wife cooks a chicken for her husband's dinner and she even tastes one little crumb of the gizzard he will beat her up badly. For women eating the gizzard is not allowed. And that's just one of many." A Rwanda young woman also told me this tradition is true.

After I walked away to be alone, a waitress I have known for years in this country risked coming to me and whispering as her eyes darted around, "My husband and I share the gizzard".

So, I hope while we all want change and we are all good people enthused in helping those in need, that we will take the time to understand.



Amei's picture

Well said Wendy

Don't forget to get the G. Cloony kiss ;-)

The diversity is so great and so rich we cannot take anything for granted. It is so much fun to learn and experiment. It is a risk we take to embrace others. Having an understanding that we differ and learn people tend to forgive are cultural mistakes when they too realize we come form a different culture.

There is so much for us to learn. The more I learn I feel the less I know. Tonight, I am glad I have spend my time reading your posts.

All the best Wendy.

In friendship

Wendyiscalm's picture


Hi Amei,

Sent you a rather lengthy email. But forgot to add. Yes. You will be the third person to know when I get the G. Clooney kiss.


Wendy Stebbins
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Amei's picture

email !!! where to.

Hi Wendy,

I am not sure which email address you sent to the email you mentioned above! My email is lost in the virtual world...


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