During my time here in Kisumu, I have the honour of staying with a truly wonderful host family. My family has two small children, both under the age of five. It’s great because I love small children, so we’ve been having a blast, playing all sorts of different games. My family also has a young female cat who, just four weeks ago, had three kittens. I say my family has a cat, but it’s more like the cat lives in the house, it’s not really a pet, or a part of the family. It’s a worker, it’s there to keep the mice out and reduce the spiders.
Because the cat is seen as a “worker” my host family thinks is rather funny that I adore the kittens so much. My host family has started to call the kitten’s “Cassie’s Babies” because of how strange it is to them that I try my hardest to make sure the kittens are safe and not stuck somewhere in the house.
It’s the little cultural differences, such as this, that stands out the most to me. They’re not good or bad, I mostly find them interesting so I want to write about them today. The bigger cultural differences are easier to absorb and comprehend. But the slight similarities you didn’t expect to find, or the little difference are sometimes what stick with you the longest when you’re traveling.
Not to get to cliché, but it’s these little similarities and differences that remind me of how we are all fundamentally connected around the world. As a student of globalization studies, this is something I have studied and thought about quite a bit. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the large differences that separate cultures. But I almost think as a globalization studies major, trying to understand the connections of people around the world, it is better to look at the small differences and huge similarities to properly understand a culture other than your own.
Cassie Scheiber ’17