Cultural Considerations “A child who asks questions does not become a fool.” “Knowledge is like a baobab tree; no one can encompass it with their hands. “We have one mouth and two ears”
Poverty • Leaving the life of privilege • Be “local” but critically evaluate the realities of your surroundings and relationships. • Hanging out with other Americans... • Beggars • say no, walk away (alternatives/trade) • What if it is a friend, host family, co-worker?
Scams • Don’t be afraid of local people’s motives, just be cautious • Walk away, no thanks • Never show your money beforehand • Keep money in separate places • Assume nothing is FREE. • If you can’t get a price lowered while bargaining then ask for something additional to be added.
Dress Code • Don’t assume you are going on a safari or jungle hike! • When to wear African prints. • Be normal. • Come with things you can get rid of. • Beach clothes are for the beach only.
Unwanted Attention • White people vs. People of Color • Women • Cat calls, tsssss • More annoying than dangerous • Sunglasses can help • Don’t go alone at night • Say/show you are married • Ask questions rather than act angry • Find a store, shop or woman/family • A little local language goes a long way
Busy places • Act busy, uninterested, walk with purpose • Have a local friend who can secure your ride and price for you. • Never say the exact place you are staying. • If a taxi driver doesn’t know where the hotel is, get a new driver. • Ok to pay more for your first night. • Don’t change money on the street.
Girls Only • Bring supply of tampons/pads, UTI and yeast infection meds. • Birth control- pills and condoms (men too!). • If you have an issue, get to a big city/capital and see a doctor. • Meet women friends.
Age Hierarchy • Please respect your elders! • Anyone older than you is your elder! • Greet your elders! • Don’t act as a young child if you are a young adult.
LGBT issues • Criminal offense all countries in Africa except South Africa. • Be discreet if traveling with your partner. • Underground scene? Yes! • Same-sex hand holding, dancing, and sleep-over= just friends
Religion • Christian, Muslim, Traditional Beliefs • Learn about what is practiced in the area you will be living. • Attend a service, participate! • Length of the service- hours can turn into days! • Evangelism • Anytime of the day • Parades • Persistence • Incorporated into work, school, love life
TIME • Americans walk funny. • There is no word for stress in many African languages. • Accept only the things that you can control. • You will offend people when you act like your life is over if you are late, the bus breaks down, you miss the bus, you get robbed, you are sick, etc. • Americans like to 'get down to business.' Don't do this in Africa. Greet properly before stating your business, even if it's just making a purchase in a store.