West Africa Acculturation and Acclimatization
I am doing my best to become African when important or possible, more or less I take the good off the top of Africa, and leave a few "Indiana Manners" intact. (I am saying Indiana, they are a little different from other states in the USA, and I hear New Yorkers fit in good in Jamaica.)
I have been here in Cote d’Ivoire long enough to acculturate, acclimate and adapt.
My new travel strategy of staying one to three months in each location is inspirational. I do not spend time thinking about where to go, I think about living, what a relief. My budget has cut in half for lodging because I learn the ins and outs of a village and can find the best deals.
My meal for the day:
Pain - Bread 100
Beignet - Beignet 50
Petit Pois - Peas 300
2 Oeufs - 200
Dates - Dates a fruit - 200
Toothbrush - 25
875 CFA or about 2 USD, the number I need to say a lot is 50 and 100, I am rather good at saying Saan Fraan, or Duh Fraan but the 50 is a little difficult for me. I do not eat the toothbrush; however, if I use it correctly, it is suppose to splinter. This custom has dropped tremendously in Cote d’Ivoire since my last trip here, I truly like this custom, and had to hunt to buy my toothbrush sticks.
(Note, if you want guaranteed success as a Travel Writer, write about food, or make shows, etc, it is the no-brainer subject of travel writing, you are guaranteed. People need to relate, food is the easy way to relate.)
Grand Bassam, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa --- Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Acculturate and Acclimate
Acclimate means I have lost about 5 pounds of extra water weight and feel comfortable in the weather, or the "Climate." The temperature must be around 80 degrees, maybe 85, but generally comfortable with a fan.
Acculturate mean I do the normal Hello things, like Ca Va and Bon Soi in the afternoon, sometimes I grasp my hand together when I meet a person, or wave the in the air. Normally, I just look people directly in the eyes, they look me directly in the eyes and say hello. I was just thinking this would unnerve most American or Europeans; this is a full body contact, a visceral experience here in Cote d’Ivoire. The people look at me, and expect me to look at them, this is easy for me, I am the aggressor alpha gorilla, so I am good at this is simple and easy, in Northern Indiana in the small towns, the farmers expect you to look and acknowledge their presence you do not just get off being a jerk.
Here is the trick part of life, when am I suppose to give a Cadeau? Yes, no, or sometimes, if when, why, do I need to prove I can support a family?
This is an African bum, as best I can figure out, there are only a couple in the larger central village of Bassam, maybe has about 10,000 people, maybe more. He never ask for money, this is country is easy on the bum thing,
Dreads in Africa
Here is some trivia, some cool stuff to know and tell at Cocktail Parties, the normal African man as best I can tell, the true Africans never has dreads. Sometimes they do have long clean curls, but never true dreads. Why, as best I can figure, they know who naturally has them, and it is a bum, they do not want to look like a bum. If a man with a Bob Marley hat greets me here in Cote d"Ivoire and most of Africa with his long dreads or something tucked up inside his hat, I know it is someone from Europe who has returned, and wants to be "too cool." He will then act as if he is the same as me, from my culture, rather like I want to talk with people with dread, because he knows that normal naïve "White" African travelers believe dreads is "African." While, it has almost nothing to do with Africa in my opinion, and what do I know, this is my sixth time here. And do not give me the Ethiopia noise, I have to Ethiopia also.
Funny Stuff this Definition from Wiki
Acculturation is the exchange of cultural features that results when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous first hand contact; the original cultural patterns of either or both groups may be altered, but the groups remain distinct.
However, anthropologist Franz Boas (1888, pp. 631-632) argued that all people acculturate, and not only "savages" and minorities:
Andy Graham Quote
All people acculturate, there is no way to stop it, at first we abhor, then we accept, then we adapt, then you see Andy pissing along side the road, it is pragmatic at times. To argue that we do not become like others is a subliminal, subconscious prejudice.
Can you go to the Southern USA for six months and never say "You-all?
Presently, I am in social norms purgatory, the place where the rules of my culture do not apply and I am not fully aware of the new ones so they do not apply. I am unaware of social norm castigations and small punishments.
I think smiles are the same.
Some countries like Cote d'Ivoire are quick to smile.
Not all countries smile a lot.
Many folk and a special problem for rich folk strangely do not smile easy, I see this as essentially low self esteem or pejudice against being different.
Old people lose their smile muscles and need to exercise them.
A smile will open any door, and people would benefit to study being personable more than being knowledgable.
All knowledge is given free to people who smile, observe and ask.
I refuse to allow people with no smile faces into my world.
Walk away to be happy.