As I stated recently, I am reading the book African Friends and Money Matters in preparation for my trip to Zambia. This book is broken up into 90 general observations about the differences between African and Western cultures. The author appropriately states that these are general observations and, like in any culture, there are exceptions to them. I am basically going to try and read about 5 of these observations every day or so until I leave. We’ll see how my plan goes.

I’ve found these observations really, really fascinating.

Here are the first five:

  • The financial need that occurs first as the first claim on the available resources.
  • Resources are to be used, not hoarded.
  • Money is to be spent before friends or relatives ask to “borrow” it.
  • If something is not being actively used, it is considered to be “available.”
  • Africans are very sensitive and alert to the needs of others and are quite ready to share their resources.

All of these are very different from Western society where everything is individualized instead of communal and we hold independence more important than interdepedence.

I think its important to understand that the author is not saying these are necessarily right or wrong, but that they just “are.”  There are positives and negatives to each of them.

Here is an example, “Africans perfer to take risks in allowing themselves to be decieved, rather than risk failing to help someone who is in need.”

I’ll be honest, as read this so far, I am really drawn to the African way of life that I read about here.  I love the focus on community and sharing.  Of course, I am also not so drawn to it because I like my “stuff.”

My trip to Zambia is from June 15-27. Read more here.

As of today I need to raise another $3000 for this trip. If you would like to help with that you can use paypal: