You are so sweet - Like Sweet Healing Food.
It's story time!
Today, we have a short story about cultural experiences.
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Let's get into the story for today.
As a management consultant and business training expert, my work has granted me the opportunity to meet diverse people in different locations. I was particularly excited about my last training project contract I secured because we were going to work in a remote location somewhere in Africa. If you have been following our Midlife Encounters blog, you can tell from my stories that I love meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, and exploring my creativity.
Upon my arrival at the project location with my team, we were met with a happy and colourful welcoming party. We were really shocked and excited at such a big reception filled with love and extreme care for the team but deep in my belly, I had some sense of discomfort. I could not shake the feeling that these guys were a bit too nice and dramatic.
Well, we executed the first stage of the training project and moved to another remote location for the next stage of the project and met a different tribe and much more colourful culture.
This time, the welcoming team was even nicer and provided such delightful hospitality that I began to feel like a celebrity movie star. We were supplied the best local meals and drinks and the most supportive hostesses you can find.
I made friends with our host driver (Favour) for the project period and we had amazing conversations. Favour had once visited Nigeria and got lost in the beauty and passion of Lagos. Hmm…the same Lagos that some people complain about and cannot wait to leave. This left me wondering deeply about the power of perspective.
The same thing viewed as a source of frustration by one, is viewed as a source of inspiration by another.
What has become your default perspective?
Favour ended up staying in Lagos for 2 years before he finally returned to his country, so we had a lot to discuss about his “Eko Experience.”
After one week at both locations, receiving "5-star" village hospitality in these beautiful remote serine places, our hosts gave us wonderful handmade crafts, more meals and drinks in a great show of kindness as we departed.
As we embarked on our 3-hour trip to the airport at the city centre, I asked Favour why the project team and the stakeholders were so nice and gracious towards us. I really did appreciate their kind gestures but I could not shake the feeling that it was a bit too much.
Favour’s parents had an inter-tribal marriage so he understood the culture of the two tribes we engaged with for the training project. He then told me that “Oyeh'' means “Sweet Healing Food” in the first tribe we visited while in the other tribe, “Oyea” means – “Breath or Air.”
Wow! So profound.
In these African tribes, names carry a lot of significance and are the expressions of life. Although my name “Oye” is not spelt in the same manner as in these tribes, the pronunciation is somewhat similar and that was all it took for them to grant me such special treatment. All their love and passion towards us was more because of the meaning of my name in their tribe – not because of the work and excellent skills and ideas we took to the project.
Hmmmmm! See this life.
Sometimes, we are so wrong about our conclusions. Think about your experiences and conclusions again before you make judgements.
So guess what, you cannot dislike, hate, or ignore me, because I am “sweet healing food and clean air”.
"Yes!" [laughing out very loud]
Wow!!! Really wonderful.
I would love for you to share in this wonderful experience with me.
Try these out:
Research the meaning of your name across African tribes.
Take a trip to a location with rich traditional culture and explore your creativity.
Think about your judgments about places and people and think again. You will be amazed how life will change suddenly.