Give three compelling examples of how cultural issues affect your project?
Culture and our project are bounded at the hip. In order to collect the data necessary for the project, the culture of Sierra Leone must allow for people to talk about Ebola. If people aren’t willing to talk or share information regarding Ebola, then the project will cease to exist. We are reliant on the culture regarding Ebola to be open. The second-way culture affects our project is the actual data that we are collecting. The data we hope to collect and analyze is literally what cultural norms impact the spread of Ebola. The data we hope to collect literally is affected by the culture because we don’t really know the culture, so we don’t really know what to analyze. Finally, the biggest issue regarding culture is the language barrier. Though they speak English our data is more targeted out those who don’t. Creating a survey that can be understood, and that collects the right data is a culture issue.
Have you experienced any of these issues at home? Describe at least three issues.
I have experienced all of these issues at home before with just different context. I have to have hard conversations about things that are normally taboo things to talk about. It can be difficult to get answers in these situations, and a lot of the time you have to persistent but respectful to get what you need. In regards to discovering culture norms, I have trouble understanding what an egg cream was for the longest time. This is sort of a weird thing to say as a cultural norm, but until I saw some drinking it. If we to ask me what dairy products people drink around here I wouldn’t know to include this. This goes to show that we don’t really know the small things about the culture around New York, so Sierra Leone will be a challenge. From a language point of view, I have a great example. The first day I got here I wanted to fill up my water bottle, so I asked where the “bubbler” was. We both spoke English and are from the same country yet my Gryphon had no idea what the heck I was talking about. For reference, a “bubbler” is the water fountain, one of those weird midwest terms.
Give three examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to address community/market problems.
One of the hopes / one of the things we have been told is that people in Sierra Leone are quite open when it comes to talking about Ebola. This will allow us to have spent less time getting people to talk about the information that we need and more on collecting information that helps us prevent an outbreak. From a Lehigh point of view, one of the problems that I face on campus is the fact that the dining halls shut breakfast down at 10. I like to think that most college students like to sleep in, whereas the adults get up a little earlier. If they left these halls open another hour they would get more customers. I think closing at 10 is due to the time necessary to flip the halls for the next meal. If they staggered the switching of meals they could keep one place open long enough for the late resizers. The final cultural practice that could be leveraged to address a market problem could be the fact there is an abundance of plastic cups on college campuses. They all get thrown away, but if you could find a way to recycle them for the same price you could prevent waste and help kids get drunk without contracting a disease.
In regard to your ventures, how does the African context present different challenges than the American context . Give at least three examples.
Africa presents a lot of different issues than America does. The abundance of technology is different, technology is abundant just its not as high quality. People don’t have iPhones they have flip phones, which are quite different to build an app for. Another challenge with Africa is the difference of languages across a mear 10 miles, communicating can be quite difficult when you have to speak multiple languages, that you have never learned. Another challenge you can face in Africa is the transportation and logistics train. In the USA you can overnight a package from NYC to LA. That’s not possible, for the same distance in Africa (for the same price), due to the roads, airlines, cultural practices, and two big issues: Tanzanian traffic cops (with their white hats as well as customs and immigration.
In regard to your ventures, how does the African context offer different resources than the American context . Give at least three examples.
Well from an economic point of view the cost of labor, as well as certain prodcuts, is significantly cheaper, which (theoretically) could allow you to get things done cheaper and at a faster pace. Africa also offers technological advancements that the US does not. I know that in the Serengeti, you can snapchat your friend due to their being wifi in some of the vehicles. I had a Cell signal and called my parents at the top of Kilimanjaro. Technology grows and is affected differently their, which can be an upside if you can shape it right. The final big upside about Africa is that is that people have a different perspective than we do, and their solutions to problems can be concepts we couldn’t have ever imagined. They have don’t see the world like we do which can allow us to operate in ways we wouldn’t have too.