Tag Archives: swahili culture

Getting My Attention

Who would have ever thought that something as simple as how to get another person’s attention would become such a cultural battle. Over the past few weeks there have been some very explicit examples that just serve to remind me that sometimes, I still just don’t get, “it,” and though I won’t share the examples, I thought I would use the reminder to typify the experiences to my readers.

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It’s Culture, But Not As An Excuse!

This past Saturday I headed into Mombasa for my weekly excursion for shopping at the supermarket (it’s cheaper than shopping local, though I buy veggies local), as well as for a change of scenery.  I sit all week in the same computer lab, go to the same hoteli for lunch, and rarely have conversations because my lab is so far from all the other teachers and apparently I am just not a good conversationalist when it comes to things Kenyans are interested in.  To compensate, I got to town.  As I have stated before, I seem to have more of a social life with Kenyans I meet on the Internet who share my interests, than those I meet in person.

However, this past Saturday I lucked out.  First, some preface.  During training out bosses solicited us for information about ourselves to help them in our placement.  They told us to tell them anything we thought might impact their placing us.  This is not unprecedented, as every PC office is allowed to handle placement however they want.  With request in mind, I sent off an email explaining to my boss (APCD is the correct title: Associate Peace Corps Director), that though my interests are in computers, I am also very interested in History (with a capital H).  Due to this interest, and knowing full well that Peace Corps is also about integrating and learning about the culture, I told him that I would be appreciative of a coast placement, as my research of Kenya informed me that the coast had always had interactions between Arabs, Westerners and Africans.  Score!  Email sent, I banished the thought from my mind but was more than pleased when I discovered I would be not only in Coast Province but also right near Mombasa, the center of a lot of coastal historical intrigue. Continue reading

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