Sometimes I tell the various sellers of things, who are always coming to my gate to sell me things, that I have to wait and ask my husband, who has the money. Of course this is not the sort of marriage Tim and I have, but it’s a handy and culturally appropriate way to graciously extricate myself from these situations.
(Just so you know, we are certainly supporting the local economy in various ways–we’ve hired a carpenter to build various pieces of furniture for us, which is the best way to buy furniture here–but we can’t buy everything that everyone wants to sell us. Being a white person definitely marks you as Someone to Sell Things To. A young man selling beautiful wood carvings told me quite explicitly that his passion is ministering to prisoners, but that he supports himself by selling things to White People.”)
And here we have a picture of me stationed at the dining room table, and a picture of the view from said table.
I don’t know what the point of telling you this is, except that it is hard to know what the Just Thing to Do is. I know that the person selling me the carved wooden things needs money, but I can neither fill my home with endless Wooden Things nor spend all my money on buying those Wooden Things. This is the thing: I hunger and thirst to do justly, but it’s exceedingly difficult to know what the Just Thing is.
In the meantime, I smile, shake hands, ask how are you? and try to be as kind as I possibly can, because kindness always helps.
(And, if all else fails, I can just play the ‘husband’ card.)