Culture and humanitarian action

As international volunteers, we meet people from other countries, other cultures. It seems important to take into account this aspect to better enjoy our stay.

When we go out to our home, our country, we accept to find out new people, new way of doing, way of thinking, way of communicating… It can be sometimes a challenge but all the time a rewarding experience.

When you travel in another country and meanwhile when you work in, it’s very important to be aware that people don’t think like you. I have a funny example of that, here in Nicaragua:

Me:  – Excuse me, does this sauce burn?

The waiter: – A little bit

Actually, it burned so much, I couldn’t eat it!

It’s also interesting to see relationship with time. In some countries, an appointment planned at 8 a.m will start at 8 a.m. In other countries at 8.05 a.m and in other at 8.45 a.m. With delay? No! That’s normal!

Respect of cultures is essential to do not generate conflicts for example or lack of well-being between people. It also can be demanding to work in a different cultural environment. We have to be able to adapt ourselves and be aware of how our culture influence our own behaviors, reactions, expectations. It doesn’t mean we have to change our values and way of being : difference is openness and enrichment…

By Emmanuelle Legay

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