Overcoming Inevitable Culture Shock

Harvests rice at the project field of JOCA
(October 2014)

At the touch down of the plane at Narita International Airport, Japan, I was excited to be in Japan after months of email correspondence and not forgetting, the fear from my host that I might be infected with Ebola.

As a development practitioner with multiple live-in experiences, nothing would have prepared me for the inevitable culture shock I would experience. Mine was not the loneliness and discomfort kind of culture shock but that of seeing a society built on its cultural heritage and how everything falls in line with the same culture. Japan is a beautiful country with technological advancement a notch up among other developed countries.

I describe myself, as new generation of African leaders who proffer viable and sustainable solutions to the myriads of socio-economic challenges that not only affect Africa but the world. But in doing so, partnerships and collaborations have to be forged beyond the shores of Africa; learning has to be global for it to make meaningful change. So when the opportunity to be a player in community development and revitalization in Tono, I took it to be part of the change process and to build my personal capacity.

I worked with a number of organizations and individuals performing key roles in the coordination of activities. These included: introduction of Africa (ns) to the Japanese society and engage in community building. From this experience, I have developed strong relationships with the community, colleagues and individuals from different age groups and cultural backgrounds. This has also enabled me to gain relevant knowledge of the roles of each in the society. While volunteering at Tono, I have learnt new approaches to building communities including initiatives that are inclusive, viable and applicable to Africa.

It has been a privilege to be one of the participants of this partnership between JOCA and AUC. It is platform for positive collaboration between African states and Japan and an avenue to: gain a better understanding of how each society works, its unique challenges and the approaches to the issues that are vital for a healthy society.

Lastly, through my interactions with the people of Tono, I have managed to positively influence their perception of Africans. I would like to sincerely thank JOCA for this opportunity. 



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