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mid-week Connect: 4/10/24 ~ Cultural Pathways

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

This week, I thought we could explore another facet of Pathways, a topic we looked at a couple times last year as well. [*] Pathways fit neatly into the PROgrams component of our Global SKILLs PROACTive Framework, because they are an essential part of designing and implementing any type of program, as in the ‘way(s)’ it is going to be done.


The pathway which partially inspired this reflection was right across our front yard when we lived in the village in southern Senegal. And the overall program it served was to guide and help me become integrated in the community.

It left the main road, a sandy track leading into the village, just before our yard without any sign or border. It angled across our compound right by our front patio and continued on across the neighbor’s outdoor kitchen area into the fields and trees beyond. It never looked particularly well traveled because each morning the sandy front yard and adjoining kitchen area would be swept, smoothing over whatever traces passers by had left since yesterday morning’s clean sweep.

As unremarkable as this pathway was outwardly, it served two vital functions. For local daily life and routines, this was the pathway to the community gardens which lay about a kilometer beyond our compounds outside the village. And for me it was also a cross-cultural pathway, leading initially through observation of and eventually through participation in many of the women’s activities including seasonal plantings, peer group dynamics and not a few celebratory songs and dances which would break out spontaneously when the women were walking or working. 

And so, women came and went throughout the day with gardening tools and bowls (filled with lunch in the morning and harvested produce in the evening) carefully balanced on their heads. Babies rode contentedly on their mama’s back and children skipped alongside. Because this particular pathway was in my living space, I came in contact with and got to greet each individual, day by day, gradually getting acquainted as we introduced ourselves and began to share pleasantries and brief news updates over the weeks and months. Wanting to get a piece of the action myself, I would occasionally join a (by then) familiar group passing by and follow the pathway with them right out to the gardens.


And this is the magic and power of pathways I want to leave with you. They help us engage and build community. They are the thoroughfares of LIFE, passing either in front of us or right under our own feet as we ourselves travel along them. They lead us literally to sustenance - in this case, for example, of a garden pathway. And they lead us figuratively into community, providing a venue for introductions, acquaintances, involvement with what’s happening locally - and by word of mouth, what’s happening ‘out there’ in the wider world. Isn’t that so very cool?!


How about you ~ what’s a favorite cross-cultural pathway you have followed or experienced, and how did it impact your community engagement?

Share about that with a friend or note it here. 

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on all sorts of pathways.

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,

Betsy


Global SKILLs LINKs

~ a formal ‘definition’: https://www.culturalpathways.com/


Notes

[*] Related Connects: other ‘Ways’ we have explored so far: Runways, Arrivals (7/26/23) and Departures (9/20/23)  

(use this link and scroll down to the date in my blog: https://www.globalskillspartners.com/blog-1 )

[**] Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including:

3 Dimensional Dynamics Model: (which we explored this week) 

1st dimension = HOME ; 2nd dimension = HOST ; 3rd dimension = HARBOR 

PROACTive Framework:                                                                                                               

PRO = PROfile, PROcess, PROgram (which we explored this week) 

ACT = Applications, Collaborations and Transformations

~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming: betsy.barbour@gmail.com 


2024 ~  Celebrating 40+ years of working in 

intercultural communications and global community building

“It takes a community to build a community”

Please Note: this is copyrighted content. 

Please do not reproduce or share without my permission (betsy.barbour@gmail.com)

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