27 October 2010

Intergration of Cultures

Vindicated by experience in rural Africa, and glancing over world news, the message is clear: "integration of cultures is floundering".

Within resource abundant settings there is lots of documentation available for anyone interested to understand what is. Cultures as they are can be known. Now pops the challenge to understanding what is becoming. One does so by interacting with the existing information, setting up networks of relationships to facilitate this process. Basically one shares information and guards relationships.

In resource limited settings all this information is not available. No books, no news papers, little Internet, and communication channels are just opening in privileged places. It is the past experience with cultural differences, so strongly felt during colonial times and often blamed for current inequities, that one must reckon with daily. It is by knowing history that members in rural community say they view current events, and contemplate the future. Such history is transmitted via oral means, within the given set of relationships. As private space is thus freely shared, the community views exchange of new and external information with apprehension.

In Macha I recognize the helpful existence of well defined world-views. This acts as third culture - a neutral ground - where one travels to from different cultures. Such world-view, properly defined with its thought patterns and models, provides for a space where individuals meet and information can be shared.

No doubt communications are instrumental. Living during current times of greatly expanding information networks - bridging gaps with cables, wireless signals, social networks, and other emerging means of communication - is very exiting. I am privileged to witness it all from an environments where its impacts are reverberating through all aspects of community life.