Misunderstood: one thing foreigners never want to be! But Africans and Westerners, interpreting the world through different cultural lenses, misunderstand each other with alarming regularity. This is sometimes funny, sometimes scandalous, but always damages credibility.
This book is designed to promote cultural competence among Westerners working in Africa and among Africans living in the West. Cultural competence–knowing what one needs to know to act in a manner acceptable in a society–is the first step to credibility and the surest antidote to being misunderstood.
DiGennaro creatively introduces dialog between two fictitious characters: Juma as the African voice, and Wesley as the Western voice. They articulate their culture’s perspectives on seven themes, themes which were identified by Westerners in Africa and by their African co-workers, as the most chronic points of cross-cultural stress: organization, finances, friendship, spirituality, communication and conflict, leadership, and work.
Easy to read and broad in approach, this book is ideal for North Americans and Europeans who desire to expand their appreciation and comprehension of Africans’ social reality.
Debbi DiGennaro (M.A. in Social Work, The Ohio State University) moved to East Africa in 2008. She leaned heavily on her training in social sciences to facilitate her understanding of work and relationship patterns in Africa. Based in Nairobi with her family, DiGennaro currently leads the regional team of a faith-based NGO.