Walk a Mile in my Shoes
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Friday, April 27, 2007
I enjoy learning about cultures.
The only way possible to learn about a culture, or situation or a problem or to understand both the good and the bad you need to,
- Walk a mile in their shoes. -
Entering into a culture, changes the culture, therefore.
I need to be immersed into a culture, until my presence become so normal, they resume normal social and personal behaviors.
Dian Fosse and the movie called Gorillas in the Mist semi discusses and explains with animals, what in a way needs to be done more with humans.
Dian went and somewhat lived with the Gorillas of Africa.
Any way I shake it, my job is to be a web designer. I want to have all 6 billion people on the planet get on my page. The goal is to attract all of them. China, about 2 billion and I would guess I get close to zero readers.
I need to immerse myself in their cultures to understand what they need. I am in Africa, the internet is exceptionally bad. I tried to allow a girl to access her Yahoo.fr email account, the email box was so strange, I could not even figure out the in box, because the French over complicated it. The girls did not have a clue.
When each page takes about 3 minutes to open, when to write one email cost a days wages, this is what I need to empathizes with or the person who is part of the 6 million or the 5.5 Billion.
One of the best things that every could have happened to my site is for me to use this extremely slow GPRS internet connection. I am forced to empathize with my readers in China, India, Nigeria, or Togo, and in Russia and all of South America, Central America, etc, 85 percent of the planet.
I see a great value in having one click to go to a page, simple fast loading and I know for sure the index of HoboTraveler.com is very bad and too slow.
I am culturally immersed in the internet culture of the world OUTside the USA, and the GPRS keeps me slow, I cannot pay my way around to a faster connection here in West Africa, I must accept a slow connection.
To walk a mile in my shoes, to have empathy, not sympathy for others.
I want to feel what they feel or do not feel, I want to feel and know their world, this is not easy. I have to let go of the money, I have to say, I will not use the money in my pocket.
I think about going back up on the Danyi Plateau, then to live in a village with no electricity and get down to base level. I wonder what percentage of the population of the planet does not have electricity.
The HDI Human Development Index says that 49 percent of Togo has a water situation as this.
“Population without sustainable access to an improved water source.”
Improved, I think the should be asking, what percentage have acceptable drinking water. If you really think, living there or anywhere means the water is someone acceptable. In addition, if it rains, they can get water, so somewhere the essential truth is, where does is not rain?
Ok, I suppose it is a good idea to say, and educate people to the idea that they should not drink from the ditch; people do need to be told.
Immersion in a culture.
There are many signs in Togo and Benin on condoms; it is close to impossible to not have a sign. In my room, number 102 in the l’Amities hotel in Atakpame is a very graphic and detailed explanation in French on how to put on and use a condom.
Yesterday, I sat down with Bernadette to do my flirt, she is reading a bible. I look close, this is not French. In my cultural arrogance, I had minimized the value of Ewe or Mina or this local language to the point I thought they only read French and spoke Mina or Ewe. Here as a bible in the Ewe language.
By being on the fringes long enough, I learned a small lesson about the culture, Mina or Ewe is a written language.
I come back to my room and think, WHY, why is this condom thing only in French, and why are all the big signs on the road only in French. I am going to press this issue; I am going to find out why they are not in Mina ALSO.
If you are trying to stop AIDS, it is really pretty easy, you say to a person in your language.
- YOU will get AIDS or SIDA if the sperm enters your body, you need to use a Condom. -
The average person here, does not read French for crap, I need to learn if they can read Mina. I was talking last night with a girl that works in a bank, she spoke excellent French, she said something about them studying Mina in school.
Fringe Immersion tells me, children below the age of school age do not speak any French.
I am trying to get in touch with the observations, I discovered a long time ago, that to earn money, I needed to understand the boss, the job, or how I made money.
It took me a couple of years to know in the business of Real Estate or and Estate Agent to understand one small USA principle. That from 9:00 to 11:00 on Monday morning, I needed 100 percent to be available by phone to answer calls. I would find close to 90 percent of my clients in this time frame.
What happens is this, there are many ads placed in the Sunday paper. On Monday the person goes to work, and when the boss is gone, they start to call all the advertisements. Simple and easy to figure out, Sunday is their day off, they waited until they are paid to work, to then make calls.
There is a big time right after the dinner, when a person sits down to read the paper, they will pick up the phone and call.
Therefore, I needed to be available to answer the calls on Monday morning and between 6 and 8 at night. Simple.
There is some sort of reasoning, I am trying to put my finger on, there is an ability of some people to access the essential obstacle or identify the one factor or variable that starts the whole game.
In problem solving, I must find the one essential factor around which all other variables, assumptions and questions revolve.
I would say, if I am in a place where it rains, I could generally have safe drinking water, short of living next to a steel foundry.
I find that a candle is a very good, cheap source of light, I can carry in my backpack and use quickly. If in a stable place, kerosene lanterns are cheaper and easier to use.
I find that a Coca Cola bottle is better than any bottle or gear bottle I can purchase.
I find that screens on windows are much better than mosquito nets.
I find that sleeping outside is cooler than sleeping in a room.
If you do not have sex or use injection needles for drugs, it is very difficult to get AIDS.
The more I identify these simple chunked down concepts when I am approaching the solving of a problem, the quicker I solve a problem.
I want to be cooler in the afternoons in West Africa.
A. Come in the rainy season.
B. Go and read a book outside under a big tree with a wind.
C. Store electricity in batteries and have a fan that runs off the batteries to use when there is no electricity.
D. Open the door to my room
I think option not utilized by me, but utilized by man travelers is to go get drunk and be too drunk to notice. Hehehe
I notice the man sweeps the courtyard at 4:30 in the morning, maybe Africa and the tropical world needs to only have the third shift of work.
I do think somehow to relate to a culture and to understand, I need to be immersed and walk a mile in the shoes of my readers. If I want to know how to make a great web page, I need to surf and use the pages the way my readers do. I am making this website HoboHideout.com and I hope to have every hotel in the world on the site. Why, because I want to use the site, I want to know every hotel in Badou, Togo, I want to know every hotel, room, Auberge or place to sleep between here Atakpame and Badou, I want to have a choice. It is just too easy to find a room on Khao San Road, Bangkok.
I also want to find a cheap room in London, and there is an extreme need to find cheap rooms in Paris.
I am immersed in the travel culture, I want to go to Paris, but I am not going to pay over 25 Euros per night for room and I am not going to live with a bunch of drunken idiots in a dorm and call it fun.
Immersion, Culture Immersion, Culture, Culture West Africa, Research,
Walk a Mile in my Shoes