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mid-week Connect: 5/31/23 ~ Cultural islands

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

I have been thinking about islands lately so I thought we’d explore a few cross-cultural facets of islands this week. This fits into the PROfile component in our Global SKILLs PROACTive Framework and the HOME dimension of our 3D Dynamics cultural perspectives.* Often, especially if you visit an island as a tourist, you get a limited, packaged understanding of the island. Let’s go beyond that, shall we?!


Aside from being natural spaces where cultures can thrive due to their relative isolation, islands are also a rich source of cultural metaphors! Two such spaces in Senegal have come to mind recently, both of which were part of my cross-cultural experiences over the years.

One is the island of Fadiout, connected to the mainland at the village of Joal in the Sine Saloum Delta. Years ago I visited this area with a group of birders - we were checking out some local birding highlights and doing some research for several projects. The facet of islands I want to highlight here is the pedestrian bridge which connects Fadiout to Joal (see the notes below for images). It is a scenic but fragile appearing wooden structure - apparently the longest one of its kind in the region. Crossing over to Fadiout by this bridge, you enter a different world.

The other island is Ile de Gorée, just off of Dakar (the capital of Senegal). This space was a center for several hundred years of the slave trade. Today, Gorée is a beautiful island jewel - with the darkest of pasts which are commemorated in numerous ways. I have visited many times, for many different reasons but the one I want to share today was when our homeschool group did a 3 day art workshop offered by the Women’s Museum on the island. It was a marvelous time which took place under enormous fig trees in the ruins of a centuries old stucco estate. Local women taught us their traditional methods of tie-dye and block printing, and regaled us with delightful stories and a contagious joy in sharing their history and culture.

As we think of islands all over the world, and how they exist and function cross-culturally, I offer these two insights:

~ From Fadiout, it’s well worth paying attention to the bridges which connect these islands to the mainland, literally and figuratively! You might learn something in those connections - even as they serve the practical purpose of allowing you to experience the island space.

~ From Gorée, I encourage you to be aware of dark pasts which need to not be forgotten - but also, be open to cultural joys and celebration which each island offers.

Islands around the world are indeed special places…

How about you ~ what’s an island and one cultural insight associated with it that you have experienced?

Share about that with a friend or note it here.

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on island spaces.

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,

Betsy


Global SKILLs LINKs

~ Related Connects: 4/5/23 - cultural appearances; 2/24/21 - cultural awakenings; 1/5/21 - new through old (scroll down from this post to the date)

~ an intriguing academic discussion on islands and islanders, and other dualities: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212682112000315

~ A Latin American cultural island example: https://belize.com/the-mennonites-of-belize-a-brief-history/


Notes

* 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 (which we explored this week)

; 2nd dimension = HOST ; 3rd dimension = HARBOR)

PROACTive Framework:

PRO = PROfile (which we explored this week), 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: betsy.barbour@gmail.com


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 (betsy.barbour@gmail.com)


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