Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reverse Cultural Awareness

For those that have been to Chichicastenango you know that market day is crowded, very crowded.  The normal manner of getting around as a local is pushing your way through the crowds.  No one thinks anything of it; it's just how it's done.  You put your head down and just plow through. 

In clinic in Mactzul V yesterday we had a conversation two brothers of the church regarding some of their cultural observations of the Northamerican species who visit in Chichicastenango.  It was pretty funny.  The conversation went like this.

Brother #1:  You North Americans do not push in crowds do you?

Kemmel:  No, not so much.

Brother;  You all get fined if you push people, don't you?

Kemmel:  No, we normally do not get fined.  We just are not used to pushing through crowds, we normally stay in line or get out of peoples way.

Brother #1:  Yeah, I notice that when I'm Chichi.  You Northamericans just kind of step out of the way if someone is pushing through or if someone is carying something.  We do not do that; we are always in a hurry so we just push our way around to be able to get to where we need to go. 

Brother #2:  I have noticed that you all even say "excuse me" as you try to get through the crowd.  How do you say "excuse me" in english?

Very observant!

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