Musings: Trust

While on the bike I have plenty of time to think. I think about family, friends, people I have met and loads of other stuff.

Today I spent a lot of time thinking about trust and my attitude to strangers. My natural instinct toward strange people I meet at the borders is mistrust and assumption they will do me ill.

In reality they are individuals trying to make a living. The border guards make a living by talking bribes because they cannot live on their basic salary. The fixers make a living by getting tips from tourists they help. Yet I approach them as if they are going to rob me blind.

On the last border into Mali there was only one fixer so the pressure seen at Rosso was not there. Even so, I knew the fixer would help me and I knew I would pay him for that. So the experience was much more pleasant. We parted company with him 10,000 CFA (£10) richer and me a happy tourist.

The other thing I have been thinking about is racism. In particular that directed towards muslims by some in the UK. I know much of it is banter and without malice but some of it is not. All I can say is that nearly everyone I have met over the last 3 weeks is probably Muslim yet not one has tried to blow me up or do me harm. (Ok one was trying to scam me but he was selling insurance. .. day no more! ) In fact they are friendly and curious about me.

In the UK we tend to divert genuine concerns about immigration toward certain ethnic groups; we tar entire communities because of the actions of a minority. This is like saying all British citizens are racist just because a few are.


2 replies on “Musings: Trust”

I can answer for the Muslim question having asked directly in The Gambia two years ago and continue to see this to be the case. All muslims are muslims who care about others and not subgroups of the religion, unlike the north eastern side of Africa. There are no sub groups in The Gambia.

sadly it is the subgroups who are the dangerous ones they have no regard for human life. I think because the British are ultimately islanders it makes them more territorial. However, when we were in Spain we discovered it was mainly the Brits who were scamming the newly retired Brits who were arriving and needing help!

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