The Value of a Thing Purchased

“People in my country buy something so that others can see it. People in your country buy something so that others can share it.”

A visiting student here in Santo Domingo made that comment to my Dominican teacher. He was from France, and what he experienced in the Dominican Republic was that very often his host family would buy things that could be enjoyed by others. Everything in the house was well-worn. The plastic chairs on the front patio, the sofa in the living room, the dining table, the dishes – nearly everything in the house had been used by the family, the extended family, the neighbors, the church members. Neighbors would come by to get water when there wasn’t any available in the community because the family put in a cistern so that they could provide more water to the family and to the neighbors.

To see it.

-or-

To share it.

I see sharing all the time here. People are so comfortable with other people using their stuff, I often wonder who’s the real owner of any property here in the barrio.

It makes me think about how many shiny things I bought that are still shiny and sitting in my room back home. I never really used it and nobody else did either. Why did I buy it? Good question. Why do we buy things anyway? For others to see it, or for others to share it?

My most valued experiences in Richmond came from when a group of friends and I shared an experience. At times, I felt like I should have purchased an Ford Econoline 350 so I could take more people on trips.

Someday I wanna have a huge house.

I want my house to be easy to get to and have plenty of parking. I want to have a big kitchen with a big island to set tons of food on so when I have parties people can mill around in the middle and talk about sports while dipping tostitos into big bowls of queso. I want to have a big common room with a huge TV and plenty of seating, and one of those old-timey movie popcorn machines that’s always well stocked. I want to have a big porch with a bbq grill and a big outdoor table where I can invite friends and family over and the kids can run around in the backyard, and tackle each other safely in the tall green grass. I want people to feel like they can stop by anytime, and if my friends from the Dominican Republic or anywhere else in the world come to visit they’ll be a big guestroom where they can set down their stuff and stay awhile.

2 thoughts on “The Value of a Thing Purchased

  1. Andrew

    Aaron,

    That last paragraph sounds like life at The Dallas (or whatever you renamed it to). I hope all’s well in the DR! It sounds like God is teaching you some important lessons.

  2. Sis

    Hahaha as I read this my response in my head is more “hmm.. I wish quite the opposite for you… I wish you had a smaller kitchen and living room so people were forced to be closer to one another and interact.” It’s not the space that invites the company, it’s the environment you present. And I think THAT is what is important… to keep an open mind and open heart to inviting others in, not so much to keep a big, open home. But I get what you’re saying. And that’s awesome bro. :)

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