14 August 2014

Cultural Differences #5: Generosity through hospitality versus generosity through charitable giving

African Friends 
and Money Matters  
by David Maranz

Africans are more generous in a hospitable sense
but are not as charitable.

Westerners are more generous in a charitable sense
but are not as hospitable.

“I can stay with any of my extended family or friends and they will feed me as long as I’m there. It’s expected for them to be generous this way.”
~ personal testimony of a West African

There is nothing more classically African than being invited - with insistence - to eat a meal, when happening to drop in on people at mealtime. This applies even to strangers. 

But Africans give little to charities outside of what could be called their zone of personal interest. 

The African way is to be more generous spontaneously, not thinking of the long term but of the immediate need.

Westerners collectively give billions to charitable organizations. However, Westerners may not want to offer a meal to someone (especially a stranger) that was not invited or planned for. Westerners are typically only hospitable within a small circle of friends, but will give charitably to any need in the world. 

The Western way is more planned, budgeted, and giving for long-term good.

[Note: This post contains selected excerpts from the book and is only one out of 90 that the author explains.]

No comments: