Posted: December 2nd, 2013
Jay Ford uses the article “20/20 Hindsight” to offer insight into his adventurous travels and discoveries. In addition, Ford states that he has acquired a “21/21” vision after his stay in Africa because his visit to East Africa and Kenya in Particular created new dimension towards his understanding of the world. Ford developed a new perspective in terms of goals, time and objectives. Therefore, Ford learnt numerous lessons from his stay in east Africa.
General dimensions of private space in America are relatively consistent and contrast considerably with other cultures. Americans have established a common approach towards personal space in unwritten codes. However, according to Ford, the Kenyan society has limited concepts for personal space. Americans have the tendency to require more personal space than Kenyans do. Ford finds himself sleeping with four other Africans in the same bed. Limited personal space is usually associated with intimate relationships in America. In addition, people from both cultures love to socialize. Therefore, it is common for people of both cultures to engage in social events and parties.
The Kenyan communities are generally hospitable towards their guests. Ford was received as a guest by Kenyans, given food, drinks and a place to spend the night. However, Ford states that this is a rare occurrence in America particularly New York. The Africans took a humanistic approach and accommodated people from different cultures. The societies in Africa also have deep respect for the elderly people. Ford finds the relations in Africa more liberating. Relationships in America are established based on emotional experiences. However, both cultures embrace relationships and the benefits they have on the individual. Both cultures use communication as a tool that drives their relationships.
The American and African have different approaches towards knowledge. The African approach towards knowledge is established under an informal setting while America uses a formal setting in class. Knowledge in Africa centers towards understanding the natural and human environment. However, education in America is primarily focuses on economic development. According to Ford, Americans attend school but do not learn. Instead, they acquire good grades and earn income. Africans have a simplistic approach towards knowledge unlike Americans. They also have a broad perspective towards the things that are in the environment. The similarity in both cultures is their deep value for knowledge. Learning in both cultures is also a continuous process for personal development.
Some of the elements of the African culture are also negative. For instance, some of the key areas of engagement require order and not chaos. However, Ford cites that it is very difficult to acquire bus tickets because of the stampedes that breakout. This is contrary to the American system, which commands order. Time seems not to be an issue for Kenyan societies. However, in America, time is valued and schedules are made. This is beneficial as people can prioritize their activities. However, in East Africa people seem not be under any pressure with relation to time. This simplistic approach makes the people more inclined to leisure activities. However, it is necessary for people to maximize on their leisure time to unwind and relax. This is a lesson that can be learned by Americans who spend most of their time on economic activities.
Learning a new cultural experience is essential towards personal development. It also helps in understanding the world and cultural diversities among different people. For instance, Ford was able to have a renewed understanding of the world and the African culture. His story is instrumental in creating awareness on the African culture and self-awareness. It also highlights the similarities and difference found in both cultures. It is therefore a resource for cultural understanding.
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