Averell walked me to the ATM. “Sure is hot today,” I said. “Sure is, hope my brother gives me something for this," he replied. “So do you do carvings as well,” I asked. “Yes, I do, but I have none with me today. I finished one last night, but I forgot it at home” “How do you spell your name? I’ll keep an eye out for your work on the internet.” He pulled out his wallet, and showed me his BIA card. I noticed that his last name was actually different than his brothers, and asked him why. “Well, he’s really my cousin. We have the same mother—different fathers."
We arrived at the bank; the ATM was in the open, outside. “I’ll be a minute.” I said, and Averell went to talk to a woman sitting on a bench nearby. When I was finished, I waited for him at the bottom of the stairs. “I was just telling her that I hope my cousin gives me something, for all this walking, selling his carving like this,” he said. “It's certainly a beautiful carving. But for all this work in the hot sun, he really should,” I replied.
We talked a little more about his work, and the person who sells on EBay for him. “He’s very fair, not like this other one” he said. He wiped his brow. “I sure hope my cousin gives me something for this.” I didn’t say anything this time, but I was thinking his choice of words was interesting. There wasn’t any intent to outright take his share of the twenty dollars. And there wasn’t any sense of coercion behind the words. It was completely in the hands of his cousin. It was a much different response than I would have expected from any middle-man.
But then again, although Averell and myself are, well, people are people—but different cultures carve things very differently.