I love when people send me thoughts, videos, blogs, articles regarding culture. Recently one of our staff members sent me a transcript from a video where a Kenyan pastor was being interviewed. His words are condemning and encouraging at the same time. Here is what he had to say.
If a foreigner were to go to a pastor’s meeting in Kenya with the interviewee, he would say this – “Do not talk. Sit and listen, but don’t talk. If a question was asked or the conversation turned to the foreigner, say “This is good conversation. Wow, I am so honored to be here”…..no opinion or answering of the question. This is because once the American talks, the conversation stops. The American is the most powerful one in the room, and no one will challenge him [or her]. Also went on to go to two, three meetings this same way. Don’t talk with opinion/answer until meeting four maybe. The biggest thing this went back to is power, and it “shutting the meeting down”….even in opinions or talking, people won’t be open and ‘challenge’ the highest power in the room.”
Though his is written about Kenyan, the same could be said about Haiti. Balancing the American desire to “fix” with understanding Haitian culture is a difficult thing to balance. My prayer is that we at CPR-3 are constantly learning how to better engage and learn from our Haitian brothers and sisters.