Thursday, February 10, 2011

The culture of ME

Today I had the honor of being a guest speaker in a grade 2 classroom where the kids are learning about the concept of culture, and how it shapes a person's identity.  They are exploring the idea that, as third culture kids, and even those that are not, culture isn't just where you've come from, but perhaps a collection of tidbits gathered along the way.  As I was talking about aspects of my own personal culture, grounded on my collection of beliefs and values, I was asked about some things that have changed for me since adding pieces of Ghanaian culture to my own.  I thought I'd share some here:

  • I take my shoes off before entering someone's living room.
  • I greet everyone with, Good morning, Fine morning; You are welcome; or How is the day?
  • I have extended my family.
  • I still enjoy a family dinner each night, but it includes anyone who might happen to be around.  Everyone is invited to eat.
  • I shake hands with everyone, even if I know them.
  • When in a group, I shake hands from right to left.
  • I say Good evening! instead of Hello.  Along the same lines, I always greet someone and ask of their family before I begin a conversation.
  • I wave only with my right hand.
  • I am culturally sensitive in regards to my dress.
  • All the typical cultural activities, like dancing, drumming, eating and clothing.
The list seems small, as I know I've adopted other bits of Ghana into my identity.  Perhaps I'll watch the list grow as time goes on.  

Pounding fufu with Auntie Akua.

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