Over 20 years ago, my wife and I first travelled to North Korea. We stayed in a small remote village, experienced the hospitality of the Koreans and lost our hearts to them: We were in bed with a stomach flu in a plain guest house. When the village chief heard about this, he paid us a visit. He sat down on our bed – getting a bit too close for our comfort! But we felt his heart. He wanted us to get well quickly. What could he give these two foreigners? A light soup, an extra blanket, some fasting and charcoal tablets was all we needed to get well. Everyone was very relieved! This helped our mutual trust grow: We lost our fear of them and they treated us with a greater openness.
In addition to our activities and projects, we consistently invest in building trusting relationships. It makes no difference if our contact with the people is short or long, in the country or the city, in government positions, in hotels or on the road. It may even be the most important thing we do.