Thursday, April 28, 2011

Decoding Culture on Vacation

A short while ago, the concept of engaging another culture was for career missionaries. Today, however, there are subcultures all around us and in order to be an effective leader, you've got to see deeply into those cultures around you. And this can happen even on vacation.

Dea and I just spent a few days in Aruba - yeah, rough I know. We spent most of our time in our resort, but did get a chance to get out a bit on a bus tour and walking downtown for a few hours. We also went into a grocery store too, which is always a must-do when traveling since it can easily highlight differences between the culture you are visiting and the one you come from. Here's some of my observations about decoding Aruban culture, even while on vacation.

+ 80% of Arubans are Catholic. On Good Friday, almost all business were closed. Compare that with religious surveys in the US and business productivity on Good Friday.
+ All Arubans learn four languages in school: Dutch, English, Spanish, and Papiamento.
+ The government owns all the land. Arubans lease the land for their homes in 65 year periods.
+ There is a dispora of Chinese that live in Aruba, we were told practically every grocery store is Chinese owned. Think global business opportunities driving tribalization.
+ 2 unreached people groups out of 8 total, 25% of people groups, or about .4% of the population, according to the Joshua Project.

Effective global leaders of the future understand that the present is full of multiple cultures, contexts and subtribes.

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