Learning to Live in a Man’s World

reflections from a new worker

The outside world around me continues to be extremely foreign and perplexing. Adapting to culture is as much what you don’t do as it is what you do do.   

As a woman, protecting my honour means taking an exuberant wide berth around groups of men standing in the pathway, often forcing my feet off the less bumpy paved path to trudge through a pile of strewn garbage on the street, trip over bits of broken concrete, and clomp through the mud to give enough distance. It means I must avert my gaze away from them and not show the slightest smile or allow the sound of my voice to be heard when I pass. This is so counterintuitive to me. I’ve spent my whole adult life learning how to be an independent woman in the western world. I learned to walk with confidence, shoulders squared, head held up high, taking long, quick strides, sure of myself in every way. The women here walk slowly, shoulders slumped, head hanging low with eyes looking down.  Her work is at home. She is not meant to be seen or heard in the outside world. It doesn’t seem like this is any kind of place for a single, independent woman who leaves her country, her home, and her family to work in the office. It’s not easy but I know undoubtedly that I am exactly where God wants me to be. And so, this makes this the right place for me, even if everything seems contrary to that. God loves to use the unlikely and seemingly impossible things to reveal His glory. So when things get hard, I take a few deep breaths and get through one day, one moment, at a time.

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