Ask First

I heard a story last week that has stuck with me so I thought I would share it with you all….

… a man went to a small African village and noticed the lack of water supply. The women of the village walked 15 miles every day with water vessels upon their heads just to have enough water to sustain the village for one day. So, as any of us I think would admit, the helpful thing to do was to build the village a well. He did.

He returned later after the well had been built and noticed that no one was using the well and it remained untouched and vacant. Perplexed, he asked why this was and why were the woman still walking 15 miles every day just to get water. He soon learned that this journey for the women became a sense of comradery and community amongst one another. It was their opportunity to get out of the home environment and enjoy the time spent with friends and fellow women in the village. Thus, no need for the well.

Before assuming people’s needs it is always important to ask first!

Thank you Ted Martens for this perspective.

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3 thoughts on “Ask First”

  1. Thank you for that post Ami. The first lesson we need to learn when doing international aid, or any aid for that matter, is to ask people how they would like to be helped first.

  2. Thank you also for share that post with us.
    Yes, thats absolutly right !
    I share the same point of view. The most important thing is to ask first if and how someone or some people needs to be helped. We live in the “third world” and very often we realized that foreignes who think they would come to help us just still have very authoritary and imperialist views of people and world. The differences between people and cultutes and the choice of each one has to be respectet. People in the “first” world always think that they know everything better for us and they are smart and clever. In this way they have bilt the type of capitalistic growing and they got the entire world in this way that we have now.I hope that this new generation are going in another way of helping people who really needs help and for that sometimes is clever to look fisrt at your owm corner, street or garden.
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! My studies are in sustainable tourism and development and it is nice to receive someone’s perspective from outside of the United States. I truly hope that this is a growing field, so we can continue to educate people on the importance of this very topic. Thank you!

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