Coming to the Netherlands I was surprised by the ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude everywhere. If you want to repaint your house, you do it yourself. At the office, you type, scan and print your own documents. In the office kitchen, you are responsible for cleaning up after yourself. In the lab, you perform your own analysis and, again, afterwards you clean up yourself.
The Dutch do everything themselves. Probably because they don’t like being told what to do. Coming from a developing country I must say, even though the majority of the population is below the poverty line, we actually hire personnel for many services. In the lab, for example, there is someone to do the ordering of reagents, to perform the analysis and to clean up
after your analysis. In the department there is someone who will type documents, print and scan for you. And we don’t just do this at work. We also hire plumbers, painters and gardeners to do work in and around the house.
However, when I go back home after many years of study here I will be more proactive in doing a lot of things myself. After all, the saying goes ‘If you want something done perfectly, do it yourself’. And I would add to that ‘…just like the Dutch would.’
Prosper Kujinga, PhD candidate in Human Nutrition, from Zimbabwe
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NL: Doe het zelf
Waar we in Zimbabwe voor allerlei klussen personeel inhuren, vertelt Prosper Kujinga, doen Nederlanders alles zelf. Je huis schilderen of in de tuin werken? Dat doen Nederlanders zelf. Ook op kantoor zijn het echte doe-het-zelvers. Ze typen, printen en scannen hun eigen documenten en doen zelf de analyses in het lab, waarna ze de spullen ook weer zelf opruimen. Waarschijnlijk omdat Nederlanders niet van een ander willen horen wat ze moeten doen, denkt Prosper. Bovendien: wie het zelf doet, weet zeker dat het goed gebeurt.