After having completed this project and shared the experience with my partner, I believe I have learned and benefitted from it in many ways: The first of these of course was rooted in my opportunity to meet someone who came from a culture filled with a variety of experiences that I myself had not yet seen or experienced. Everyday, we are exposed to different people but sometimes we fail to actually take a look and get to know those around us. This project allowed me to develop a great appreciation for the diversity we have in this world and how much more there is to learn and to discover.
The high point, or should I say, best characteristic of this entire project I would say is the fact that I was lucky enough to find a partner who was so willing to share and exchange information. This had to be the most crucial factor to the project’s success. It was his willingness to share what he had that allowed us to make the most of the time we had to really give all we could to learn. We were able to buy snacks together, enjoy films, have meals and together share many other activities.
Basically, these were moments that were able to maximize because of the fact that we both were mutually open to talk, discuss and share what we had. If there was one thing I would say or call a low point, it would be more of lack of time. Given that I found a partner so open to share, had we been given more time, the amount of experiences we cold share would be endless. We could have talked not only about differences in wedding and education, but went into a more personal level, such as what life is like to grow up in a different country, a different world.
Ideally, it would have even been more wonderful if we could have flown to a rural Kenyan area and immersed within the culture itself, to get a first hand true-to-life experience. What I found surprising however is the fact that although there are differences between cultures, there are also many similarities, even if located a world apart. For example, although the Kenyan attire in a wedding is different compared to the traditional Western white bride, the celebratory attitude, festiveness and respect for a wedding as a grand event was very much the same.
Even holidays are something we share, as Christmas is much an event to them as well. Just as over here many families take part in the tradition if gift-giving, so do they over there where toys and new clothes are bought for children, family and friends. It’s amazing to see how although culture, distance, and time can separate the Kenyan world from the Western world, there are yet so many similarities between us in terms of the traditions, festivities and ways of daily living.
Overall, it is in my deepest opinion that this project was a success to me as it opened my eyes to a world logistically distant from mine, and exposed me to the fact that despite the distance, indeed much can yet be in common. This would be the strong point of this experience as it speaks against racism and rash judgment. It shows us that truly, no one has the right to place judgment on the culture of another for lack of understanding of its value and purposes. It shows us that indeed although the form with which traditions and activities may be different, their meaning and their value to each culture may be very similar.
This is truly applicable in my life as I know I will meet many people along the way who may be or seem different from myself, whether it be in terms or race, religion, origin and more. Now, I know that I must always keep myself open, spare judgment, and instead allow myself to learn from all who come my way with an open mind. It has been an eye opener to the fact that despite all things, indeed, the world is truly a very small place where we can all come together.