In this country, shopping is an act of social obligation -- it is more about relationships than it is about things. Whether we buyfomr the 10 year old hawking painted grass, the paraplegic selling envelopes, or the minimart with air conditioning is a matter of social choice. Today, Darlene had an opportunity to purchase a hand embroidered bedcover for $18, $21, or$25. The basic issue came down to, how much do we have to lower the price before we purchase - in purchasing goods and services which are far below our commonly accepted market value in North America. Prices for many things on the street are low, because people need money, and their time is valued at a very low price. She was reminded to ask herself, "Are you a person who values things and uses people, or a person who values people and uses things?"
For me, I have found this all difficult to accept. I am uncomfortable being seen as a resource for these people -- but that would be the reality of visiting this country.