As we covered the last miles towards our destination, I was so much excited that at last, I would have a chance to gain a real experience of all I had learned in class about intercultural communication. It had been a long debate between my mom and dad to finally settle on this particular place located in Kenya known as Maasai Mara. I had backed up dad’s idea of visiting this place as I had heard from my friends that the place is rich in a cultural diversity.
When we finally alighted from our vehicle, I tried to catch a quick glance of the place and what I saw was unbelievable, I could hardly believe my eyes seeing a person jump almost two meters high. This, I came to learn later that it is a Maasai cultural dance. The place was very hot and I had to remove my coat, and I felt like the sun had just dropped down by some inches. There were shrubs all around, mud houses that were thatched with dry grass. The place was so startling; a young man who had wrapped himself in a red piece of clothing warmly welcomed us. I was surprised to hear him talk in a clear fluent English.
My immediate reaction was to try and know which language these people spoke. I also acknowledged the fact that I was from a different culture. Most of them could not speak English fluently but they understood it. So as to make sure that they understood me, I tried as much as possible to avoid any accent. I also remained patient, spoke in plain English as much as I could and I repeated my questions often so that they could get me well. I was also particularly keen in listening and allowed them to express themselves without interfering. I learnt that the Maasai people use nonverbal communication whenever they express themselves and this was somehow a breakthrough in understanding them.
I also tried to learn some of their language such as greetings. What I found in the Maasai culture is that it is remarkably different from my own. Their mode of dressing, their norms such as drinking blood are unique (Martin, 2011). However, having learnt in class to respect other people’s cultures, I was able to get along with the Maasai people. My class lessons were extremely helpful in this intercultural communication. At the end of it all, I had known much about Maasai culture, their norms and their value system.
Given a chance to visit the maasai community in Kenya again, I think I would do the same things I did in my intercultural communication, but this time round, it would be more effective having had an experience and learnt much about maasai people.
This traveling was a life-thrilling thing, and I have learned to embrace cultural diversity. Moreover, having some intercultural communication knowledge is a vital thing in learning and appreciating other people’s cultures. Besides, it is not reasonable to think that a particular culture is of more importance than another because no one ever chooses which culture to be born in, but it is a predetermined phenomenon (Jandt, 2010).