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08/30/2007

An insight into local culture from a receipt!

As we conduct our activities overseas, we encounter a variety of people crucial to the daily processes of our projects besides those who are direct participants to our projects.  Just to name a few: for example, a local government agent, or the various vendors that we use for our projects.  We experience particular local culture through daily interaction with these people.

Afghanistan is not an exception; indeed, local culture in Afghanistan has an outstanding uniqueness.

Afghanistan_receiptYou know this from looking at a receipt brought back by our local staff (we cannot go out to buy the products, due to security reasons); it can show you an insight into the uniqueness of life here.  First of all, almost all the receipts are handwritten in the local language, Dari.  Secondly, we cannot figure out the dates, since they are dated using the Afghanistan calendar, which is different from ours  Finally, the numbers are written in Arabic script, which we can barely recognize.  Even processing a single payment is a difficult task, as everything needs to be translated by our local staff.  Moreover, you can encounter “loose” receipts time to time when you take a closer look.  Dates are missing, there are incorrect calculations, so on and so on and then we have to ask again to get the correct one.  All this is necessary, as we need to be accountable to the supporters for our activities and make appropriate reports.

I have often thought that it is necessary for us, who support the people, to learn further a sense of delicate balance between respecting local cultures and maintaining the policies and standards for our activities.

August 30, 2007 in Afghanistan |