DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Awakening Memories of Our Past.

Written by: on June 15, 2019

The thought of London awakens many memories in my past, some good and some not so good like British imperialism in Africa but it serves me to concentrate on the very good ones. Coming from a commonwealth country, I’m sure that there are many things that I’ll find that are similar like driving on the left and the British English. I have visited London twice in the past and my daughter is doing her graduate studies in London School of economics and did part of her undergraduate in Oxford University, I’m therefore looking forward to visit London for the advance but also to meet my daughter. I’m looking forward to explore more of London because my previous visits were busy and I did not get the opportunity to visit many places or to experience the culture of London or Britain in any significant ways. I have also visited Northern Ireland but only for two days, not long enough to learn a lot about the culture. Some of the memories of my last two visits are the shock of seeing narrow roads in London squeezed between buildings as opposed to the big highways I have seen across the US.

As I read the two books on culture shock by Orin Hargraves[1] and Terry Tan[2], I still felt a total stranger and some apprehension as to how to navigate my way in this foreign land but more eager to visit that I felt in my last two visits. I feel like I am now more equipped with more knowledge of what to expect and how to go about different aspects of my time in London. I feel like I can find my way more easily and know where to go at any time of the day and night. Some of the cultural issues that sound so familiar from my last visits include the fact that strangers cannot make eye contact on the street and greetings are not exchanged between people who don’t know one another.[3] Our Kenyan culture is very relational and its very usual for strangers to greet one another even when they’re strangers and its easy to strike a conversation with a stranger. While it is not unusual for people not to make eye contact, in Kenya its more of a shame culture more than individualism and independence. The other issue is on renting a house in London as assured shorthold tenancy rather than long periods rentals.[4] I have been renting accommodation for my daughter close to her college and could only rent on a six months lease agreement and a three months lease and is therefore familiar with this fact. It is also a common practice in our Kenyan culture to rent for shorter periods and mostly with no lease agreement. The biggest difference is however in rentals is more stricter control and regulation of rental housing in London than in Nairobi where landlords can breach the verbal agreement at will and get away with it.

As a leader, I realize the importance of understanding the culture of new areas that we would want to venture into to establish the work of our ministry organization. I recently visited new counties in our country where we want to establish new branches of our ministry and new church plants. As a responsible leader, I should ensure that we understand the unique culture of the new areas, to respect the local people and be sensitive to their culture. In the book, Culture map[5], Erin Meyes emphasizes the importance of understanding the differences in culture in different geographical locations and the importance of being sensitive to culture of the local people.

[1] Orin Hangraves. Culture Shock! London: Living In The World’s Great Cities. (Times Media Private Limited, 2000)

[2] Terry Tan. Culture Shock! Britain: A Guide To Customs And Etikette. (London Kuperand. !992)

[3] Orin Hangraves. Culture Shock! London: Living In The World’s Great Cities. (Times Media Private Limited, 2000). Kindle, Loc 234.

[4] Orin Hangraves. Culture Shock! London: Living In The World’s Great Cities. (Times Media Private Limited, 2000). Kindle, Loc 1886.

[5] Erin Meyes. The Culture Map (New York: Public Affairs, 2015).

About the Author

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Wallace Kamau

Wallace is a believer in Christ, Married to Mary Kamau (Founder and Executive Director of Missions of Hope International) and father to 3 Wonderful children, Imani Kamau (Graduate student at London School of Economics, UK), Victory Kamau (Undergraduate student at Portland state University, Oregon, USA) and David Kamau ( Grade student at Rosslyn Academy). Founder and Director, Missions of Hope International (www.mohiafrica.org), CPA, BAchelor of Commerce (Accounting) from University of Nairobi, Masters of Arts (Leadership) from Pan African Christian University.

2 responses to “Awakening Memories of Our Past.”

  1. mm Mary Mims says:

    Wallace, thanks for reminding us how important it is to understand a different culture. I think it is easy for us in America to get caught up in the romantic images. The ulgy effects of imperialism are still present in many countries throughout the world and should not be totally forgotten, lest the past is repeated.

  2. Thank you Mary, indeed its important to acknowledge the ills that were done and take steps to ensure that the past will not be repeated again. I look forward to seeing you in London.

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