Africa Cultural Immersion Kametonou Togo West Africa Sunday, April 15, 2007
I am here on the Togo side of the Ghana - Togo border in this small village of Kametonou Togo, in West Africa. We was told yesterday, that on the Ghana side, the name of the village is Kamet or close to that.
I have traveled for years, and still there are awakenings.
Beads around the waist of African girls.
This is a small Mina or Ewe girls from Togo, however the culture of the Mina or Ewe or this language groups overlaps into both Ghana and Togo.
I search continually for a way to explain this small cultural identifier, would indicated the person was from somewhere in Africa. I have seen the beads in I would believe all the West African countries I have visited, however not sure I can say yes or no to this in Islamic dominated areas. The adult girls have these beads, and maybe 40-75 percent of girls have them around their waist, not easy to know what is under the clothes of women.
I am awakening to my desires. I am more aware, that I wish to continually know when I visit a destination. - How immersed am I in the culture? -
Presently, I would say I am about a 7 on a scale of 10 and 10 being totally immersed. I guess I removing 3 because I am not force to only talk Mina, I am with Michael and he is talking English with me, and there is a couple of points here where the Mina culture has been more westernized here on the border, than if I was in some road where by the path of western people would not cross with the path of the Togo or Mina people.
I am thinking and going to play around trying to make a cultural immersion scale. Maybe a rating system where a person can say, I was a 9 on 10-point scale of cultural immersion.
There would be ways of evaluations such as…
How many foreigners come? Are you required to speak the local language? Can you speak the local language? Are you sleeping in a hotel or a person’s home?
There is a problem, and there is this idea of seeing the real people or the real culture. This is impossible in a literal sense, because everywhere we go is the real culture. The question is more about how much are you aware of the Mina culture and how have you left behind your own culture. On the other hand, how much are you utilizing the Mina culture, and much do you utilize your own.
This type of idea is enveloped in confusion and lack of simple clarity. To explain immersion in a real culture when you are 100 percent the time always immersed in the real culture. In the language immersion or when a person is immersed in the language, it would mean, I have nobody that will speak English with me, to be immersed in the culture of the ethnic group called the Minas of Togo, it would mean what?
I have no one to be American with; nobody that tries socializing me to act American or more correct here would be to make me act Yeh Bow or White Man.
The want me to eat Fufu, Kicki or Pate, I am not much on the Fufu world and when looking at these foods, I think fat. They are full of calories of are carbohydrate blasting.
I feel a great desire to make these rating systems and try to allow a person to rate their cultural immersion. It close to impossible for a person to become aware of culture, and study cultures until they have some way of say or understanding they are in or not in the culture. It is annoying to hear people say something like; I was in Mexico when they went to a resort in Cancun. Yes, they were in Mexico; however, the ability to empathize with Mexico is about a minus one after going to Cancun.
I am pretty immersed here, as I have, - Left the cadeau behind. -
Nobody here has just say, give me a cadeau or gift, they have almost came to a stop, however there is the pig story.