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mid-week Connect: 5/11/23 ~ Cultural Foraging

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

I thought today that we would explore some facets of how people in different cultures use their immediate environments. This fits nicely into the HOST dimension of our Global SKILLs 3D Dynamics Framework because understanding the ways our host community, and different groups in that community, use items in their physical surroundings can open doors for us of both cultural understanding and integration.*

One facet of this topic is foraging - the act of finding and using naturally available resources. Societies have traditionally done this for millenia, and even as ‘civilization’ has advanced across the globe providing man-made marvels to replace nature’s bounty, foraging continues to be widely practiced to this day - sometimes in rather surprising ways!

I experienced one traditional example of foraging, with a surprising twist for me personally, when we lived in Sindian, the rural village in southwest Senegal. As I was talking to a relatively new acquaintance one day in her courtyard, her teenage brother came out of their house. It was immediately evident that he was blind, although he deftly navigated across the courtyard toward our voices and joined us briefly, saying he was going out to gather bark for some of their father’s traditional medicines. He took a walking stick leaning against the cook house and, using that as his guide, he wandered slowly off across the lane and into the woods. I asked his sister how he managed to do this rather complex foraging task and she explained that their father had taken him out since he was very young, teaching him both how to get around and also the textures and sometimes smell of the trees’ bark to find the ones which were used in the medicines.

I was so impressed with this whole situation and we can explore other dynamic cross-cultural aspects of it some other time, but for now - I’d just like to linger with a few foraging-related highlights…

Even as this young man foraged using his senses of feel and smell, we too can become effective foragers as we move across cultures - ‘blind’ as we ourselves often are, since we don’t know what’s really happening. Using all of our senses, we can intentionally navigate any given cultural context discovering useful information, insights, explanations as well as items and activities which will enhance our experience.

How about you ~ what is one cross-cultural foraging activity you have done or might try?

Share about that with a friend or note it here.

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on foraging, ancient and contemporary.

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,



~ examples of foraging in traditional societies - on a site rich with many learning resources:

~ 2 resources for contemporary urban foraging - just BE CAREFUL, knowing that many cities spray with toxic chemicals:


~ Related Connects - different takes on foraging: 6/15/22 - plastic repurposed; 2/15/23 - traditional bread adaptation (scroll down to find the post date)

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

3 Dimensional Dynamics Model: 1st dimension = HOME ; 2nd dimension = HOST (which we explored this week); 3rd dimension = HARBOR)

PROACTive Framework:

PRO = PROfile, PROcess, PROgram

ACT = Application, Collaboration and Transformation

~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming:

2023 ~ 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 (

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