Conceptual Travel

Am I a Cultural Imperialist?

Am I a Cultural Imperialist?

One of the biggest factors in this sensitive equation that makes me feel better is the fact that our intentions were solely and powerfully good. Though this isn't a "get out of shame free" card, it certainly validates much more when dealing with these culturally sensitive areas. Upon first stepping foot in Fiji, we taped ourselves expressing the concerns we had for our own project, stating, "We're not even sure they want us to do what we came to do."

After explaining our purpose and receiving acceptance, we felt we were in the clear. But it would have been in our best interests to examine the culture we were penetrating before getting there and constantly ask questions to the head people in order to perfect our footing. There was a whole anthropological lesson to be learned in preparation, although this is assuming perfect preparation would have given us perfect results.

Read More

Rights vs. blame

Rights vs. blame

I anticipate this topic sparking some vocalization from my normally docile reading crowd, but I want to bring it up as it bothered me during my last week in Fiji. Freshly departed from all Nakavika affiliations, I sat atop a barstool for seven hours at Uprising, telling friends and barmen my stories from the Highlands and my frustrations with the final portion of the experience. My eyes sat at half-mast from a rough morning of goodbyes.

Read More

Sacrificing mentality

Sacrificing mentality

At what moment, after leaving your culture to adopt another, do you realize that you might have given up too much? Are we all willing to forget where we came from in order to merge into something new? How can you express your life to another culture without giving the impression of insensitivity? How much food can you eat that you dislike just to be polite? Do you tell your host that you don’t like some things just to make the majority of what you eat comforting?

Read More