Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 10, 2011 2:30 PM

It’s interesting how certain gestures mean so much in a culture and can confuse people who are not from that culture.  I’m sure, as Americans, we have them in our culture and we don’t even realize that outsiders may not understand them.  Well, Ugandans have them too.  And they may sometimes be so subtle that you don’t even know that they are trying to communicate something.  For instance, when a Ugandan raises their eyebrows it means yes.  And when they wave by opening and closing their hand it means come here.  If you don’t understand some of these, you may not be able to communicate with the people as well or you may be sending signals you don’t want.  If you ask someone a yes or no question, they may seem like they are ignoring you, when in fact they raised their eyebrows to say yes.  It is similar to how American nod to say yes.  Or you may be waving at some children you pass and then all of a sudden they are following you and you don’t know why.  Maybe it was because of the way you waved and you didn’t even think about it.  As I stay here and interact with people more and more I begin to pick up on these subtleties and they become very normal.

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