Are you more Namibian than American? Take a look at this values comparison to find out.
If it were my home
What if you lived in Namibia instead of the US? This cool website called ‘If it were my home‘ tells us you would die 27.71 years sooner, but be 79.37% less likely to be in prison. You would make 84% less money, but spend 95% less money on health care. You would also use 84% less electricity (because the electricity will get shut off every other day), and have 52% more babies. However, these national averages only tell part of the story. Drastic differences between Namibia and the US in health and wealth statistics, not to mention a different cultural history, inevitably translate into different values systems.
To give you an idea of what it means be a Namibian, besides the shorter life span and the staying out of prison, I compared the values and customs I’ve observed here to the ones in my home land. Which do you prefer?
*N.B. There are, of course, exceptions
|A Namibian...||An American...|
|Walks very slow. Walking fast makes you hot, and besides, there's no rush to go anywhere.||Walks very fast. Walking can be exercise if you do it fast enough, and the faster you walk the more you will get done today.
|First question for a new acquaintance. How old are you? (Respect comes from age)||First question for a new acquaintance. What do you do for a living? (Respect comes from accomplishments)|
|My grandmother, mother, and father will live with me until they die so my children and I can take care of them.||I have my own life, and I don't want my parents nosing around in it. I'll visit them at the old age home.|
|ALWAYS say 'Good morning, how are you?' to every person you come into contact with every day, even in text messages.||Hey. Sup.|
|No such thing as personal space.||Respect the personal space bubble.|
|Can't make plans for next week because you decide what you will do the day before you do it.||Plans entire life schedule two months in advance.|
|The more formal your greeting and attitude the more respect you are showing the other person.||Informality is a way of demonstrating equality between yourself and the person you're talking to.|
|I see you are on the side of the road needing to hitchhike, hop in!||Honey, drive far away from that hitch hiker, only murderous psychopaths hitchhike.|
|If you weren't expecting to break your sandwich into eight pieces to share with everyone, why are you eating it at work?||If a person offers to share food, either decline or take a very small sample.|
|Nobody notices when someone sneezes.||It's rude not to acknowledge a sneeze with 'bless you' or 'gesundheit'.|
|Imply or suggest what you mean. If the truth hurts, soften it as much as possible.||Being straightforward and honest is preferable to beating around the bush.|
|It's 2:30 and I'm walking through town to a meeting at 3. On the way I see my friend and chat, pop into the store for a snack, and backtrack to the post office to mail a letter. I get to the meeting at 4:30, but so does everyone else.||If you're early you're on time. If you're on time, you're late. If you're late, that's unacceptable.|
|In Africa we share!||Hands off my stuff.|
|If you stay in the house all weekend, people will be seriously worried about your depression.||People like their privacy and stick to themselves.|
|Women should wear skirts or dresses all day every day.||Wear what you feel comfortable in.|
|Kindness and compassion are highly preferable.||Same here! Not so different after all.|
To sum up the customs/values…
If you love people, sharing everything and taking life one day at a time, Namibia is for you! If you keep to yourself and plan out your life with OCD-like precision, you might want to stay in the US. Personally I’m ready to head back and put my nose back to the grindstone, but I plan to bring the scrappiness and food sharing parts of Namibia back with me.