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Indonesia: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by Melissa Chang |

Indonesia, Regions, Travel, Travel Health & Safety

INDONESIA: FACTS & STATS

 Indonesian Ocean

Location: Southeast Asia, archipelago between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Capital: Jakarta.Map of Indonesia

Climate: Tropical, generally hot and humid, more moderate in the highlands.

Population: 237,512,352 as per July 2008 estimates. About 17.8% of the population live below poverty line and the country has an unemployment rate of 9.1% as of 2007. Agriculture and industry prop up the Indonesian economy aided by reforms in the financial sector and improved investments. Petroleum and natural gas, textiles, mining, cement, chemical fertilizers, wood products, rubber products and tourism are the main industries.

Ethnic Make-up: Javanese 40.6%, Sudanese 15%, Madurese 3.3%, Minangkabau 2.7%, Betawi 2.4%, Bugis 2.4%, Banten 2%, Banjar 1.7%, Others 30%.

Religions: Muslim 86%, Protestant 5.7%, Roman Catholic 3%, Hindu 1.8%, Others including Jews, Buddhists 3.4%. The Constitution grants all citizens the right to worship according to their faith, but restrictions have been applied to some religious activities. The government only recognises 5 major religions and others coming under the unrecognised category and are therefore not protected by law.

Mopeds in IndonesiaLanguage: Bahasa Indonesia, English, Dutch, Javanese and other local dialects.

Government: Republic.

Travel Issues: Nationals of about 62 countries have the facility to obtain a tourist visa on arrival for a period of 30 days at one of the 14 airports and 23 seaports of Indonesia. However these visas may not be converted to another category or extended. All others need to apply for a valid visa at their nearest embassy. All travellers need to possess a passport with at least 6 months validity and documents proving onward or return journey. No vaccinations are mandatory. Travellers from about 11 neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Philippines etc do not require a visa to enter Indonesia but have to enter through stipulated ports. Enquire at your nearest embassy to ascertain your requirements.

Health & Safety: Indonesia is said to pose high risk of infection if precautions are not taken against Hepatitis A and E, typhoid, malaria, dengue fever, avian flu, and diarrhea.

SOCIETY & CULTURE

Children in Indonesia

The People

Indonesia has about 300 ethnic groups each with their own specific cultural patterns and beliefs. A mix of European, Chinese, Indian, and Malay cultural heritages go together to form the Indonesian ethnicity. People of Indonesia are known for their extremely friendly demeanour and welcoming attitudes. However, they have conservative attitudes governing their social behaviour.

The Religion

Indonesia is an Islamic country but is secular in nature. Various faiths are practiced by the citizens without fear. Missionary works have been conducted by North American churches but such activities are restricted in certain areas. The Aceh region is supposed to be an Islamic state and follows religious tenets very strictly.

Role of Family

Indonesians value the extended family structure and draw great support from the interdependent style of living. Families often share the same accommodation or live nearby within minutes of each other. The oldest male is the patriarch and he has the final say in all matters. Women have the traditional role of housekeeping and are the primary caregivers for children. In the cities there is a break away from tradition and nuclear families live in high rises. Women work outside homes but not in any large numbers.

Ancestors

Ancestors are revered and remembered via special prayers and religious rituals during their anniversaries and on special days of the departed. Balinese Hindus believe ancestors to have powers that can protect and help the living members of the family if they are shown ample respect. On the other hand, if ignored, they can turn spiteful and cause destruction and sorrow. Funeral rituals are extremely elaborate and as extravagant as a family can afford.

Recreational Activities

Badminton and tennis are national favourites. Traditional forms of recreation include cockfighting, kite flying, bull racing, and boat racing. Another old favourite is sepak takraw played with a rattan ball. Some forms of martial arts like Pencak silat have avid followers.

Anything else important for this culture

Indonesians have a laid back and relaxed attitude to life and are often taken aback with the hurried lifestyle of westerners. They are a very conservative society and hold fast to religious beliefs. There is a social hierarchy that might not be visible to outsiders, but which nevertheless pays to be followed.

ETIQUETTE & CUSTOMS

Meetings & Greetings

Greetings take the form of a low bow that is done at a slow pace to show respect. the more the respect the lower the bow when greeting elders. A limp handshake followed by “Selamat” is also acceptable. Others merit a slight bow or even just placing your right palm over the heart.

Courtesy

Often first meetings revolve around getting to know each other rather than discussing anything serious. The purpose is to avoid loss of face to any one concerned. Loss of face or malu is an Indonesian concept that focuses on avoiding humiliation or embarrassment to any one. The use of passive voice, avoiding direct confrontation, denial, or arguing, and generally beating about the bush rather than coming to the point is all a means of avoiding loss of face. Introductions have to be made starting with the eldest person first.

Gift Giving

Gift giving is an accepted mode of showing appreciation or goodwill. If invited to a home it is good to arrive with a token gift. Avoid buying locally available items that may be everywhere. Souvenirs from your land or a box of fancy chocolates may be ideal.

Dress Code

Indonesia is a very conservative society and it is important to cover up, especially for women. Keep shoulders and knees well covered. It is important to don formal suits for business meeting even in hot humid temperatures.

Dining Etiquette

Dress formally as casual attire may be considered insulting. While at the dining table again wait to be seated. Do not begin to serve or eat till the elders have done so. Avoid alcohol and pork products if dining in mixed company.

Visiting a home

If invited for dinner at a home, it is alright to arrive a few minutes late but do not delay further. Bring a token gift for the hostess. Leave your footwear outside and once inside wait to be invited to be seated.

Communication Style

Though not many people speak English it is surprisingly easy to communicate as far as basic needs are concerned. Indonesians are extremely warm and eager to help foreigners who appear at a loss. Do not attempt direct conversation with the opposite gender unless they initiate it.

Dos and Don’ts

The head is considered sacred, so do not touch anyone on the head. If you do so accidently, apologize profusely. Do not use your left hand to hand over things such as business cards, money, or food. Do not photograph people without permission. Foreigners are not expected to know the nuances of Indonesian behaviour, but if you do your attempts are well appreciated and you earn their respect. Avoid causing embarrassment or loss of face to your counterparts by not raising your voice, loud laughter, and poor jokes.

Kid with hat and rice fields by John Yavuz Can

Birds photo by flydive

Traditional Dance by giuseppeportale_cartorange

2 kids by Victor Velez

Ocean by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

carving by marc_smith

Food stand by Apple Jia

Moped by simminch

Turkey: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by Melissa Chang |

Cultural Sensitivity, Middle East, Turkey, Turkey

TURKEY: FACTS & STATS

Mosque in Turkey
Photo by David Spender

little mapLocation: South Eastern Europe and Asia Minor; bordered on the Northeast by Armenia, Georgia, and the Black Sea, in the East by Iran, in the Southeast by Iraq, in the West by Syria, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Aegean Sea, and in the Northwest by Greece and Bulgaria.

Capital: Ankara Climate: Typical Mediterranean climate of hot summers and mild winters Population: 71,158,647 according to 2007 estimates. The economy is industry and agriculture based. A growth spurt in private sector has added to the economic strength. Unemployment stands at about 10%. Ethnic Make-up: Turkish 80%, Kurdish 20%

Turkish PortReligions: Muslims 99.8%, Christians and Jews 0.2%. The secular government guarantees freedom of worship. It grants all religious groups the right to carry out evangelistic missions, but arrests of Christian missionaries by the police are common.

Language: Turkish, Kurdish, Dimli, Azeri, Kabardian Government: Republican Parliamentary Democracy

Travel Issues: Citizens of Austria, Belgium, Brazil, British passport holders of Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, U.K., and U.S. require a visa to enter Turkey but can get them at major ports of entry at the border, with a valid passport at hand. This would be for a maximum stay of 3 months. Anything longer requires a visa application.

Health & Safety: Visitors to Turkey are advised to take immunization shots against hepatitis A, typhoid, hepatitis B, MMR, tetanus and diphtheria. Malaria might be a risk if you intend to leave the trodden path and travel in the rural areas.

Brian Snelson
Photo by Brian Snelson

SOCIETY & CULTURE

2 boys in TurkeyThe People: For the Turkish people, hospitality is a way of life and goes way back in tradition. They often go out of their way to accommodate a guest and make them welcome. They are very proud about their rich history and heritage and are happy to talk about it.

The Religion: The major religion is Islam and Christians are a minority.

Role of Family: They have very close and possessive family relationships. The seniors are respected and taken good care of till the end. Children continue to live with their parents till they get married and often their financial needs are met right up to then. This care and concern is returned in the old age of the parents.

Whirling DervishRecreational Activities: Strenuous physical sports such as mountaineering, winter sports such as skiing, and water sports in the Mediterranean coast are widely popular.

Anything else important for this culture: Always acknowledge and greet the senior-most person first. Jumping queues is not considered particularly rude, so it’s best to be patient.

ETIQUETTE & CUSTOMS

Meetings & Greetings: Shaking hands is the ordinary form of greeting. Traditional values and norms of Islam guide everyday manners and behavior. If interacting with traditional people and elders, the Islamic greeting of Asalaam um alaikum is more acceptable. Women are less conservative than in other Muslim nations and may shake hands with males. Close relations kiss on the cheek as greeting and leave-taking.

Turkish Coast
Photo by Kusadasi Guy

ladies in IstanbulCourtesy: It is rude to sit with your legs askew. Always cross them or keep them together, especially if someone is directly opposite you. It is not courteous to inquire about female relatives, but it is acceptable to talk about family and children.

Gift Giving: This is not a particularly Turkish custom. But if you’re invited to someone’s home, it would be a nice gesture to carry some chocolates or candies for the family, especially if there are children in the house. Alcohol should not be gifted to Muslims unless you’re sure they imbibe.

Dress Code: Being a conservative community that values tradition highly, you would be well advised to abide by the prevalent dress code. For formal occasions and business meetings, men wear business attire complete with tie. Women may wear business suits that ensure their skirts are knee length or longer. Informal wear for women should cover shoulders, arms, and legs. In rural areas, a head scarf is advised.

Turkish HousesDining Etiquette: Always leave your foot wear outside when invited to dine at someone’s house. Take along a gift that is not too ostentatious. This should be discreetly offered to the host. Wait to be shown to your seat. There is a protocol to this based on hierarchy where the senior most person is seated furthest from the entrance.

If it is a traditional affair, you will be seated on carpets on the floor and eating from a communal dish. You will have to eat with your hands, and for this you should only use the fingers of your right hand. There will be a ritualistic washing of hands before and after dining.

Vendor in TurkeyVisiting a home: When visiting a home, you need to show your appreciation for the honor by giving a suitable gift. Do not offer flowers, but chocolates, sweets, and fruits are acceptable. Leave your footwear outside. You should accept the hospitality graciously and never decline any offer of food and drink.

Communication Style: A ‘Yes’ is indicated with an upward nod, and a ‘No’ is the same gesture with raised eyebrows followed by a hissing ‘tsk’. You can address a man by his first name, followed by ‘bey’ and a woman by her first name and ‘hanim.’ If the person has a professional title, make sure you use that.

Dos and Don’ts: Being a secular state, alcohol is freely available. But you have to keep in mind that Muslims fast in the holy month of Ramadan from dawn to dusk and it would be a good move on your part to not indulge in their presence. Refrain from conversing about contentious politics or current affairs.

Spice Market Istanbul
Photo by Brian Snelson

Man smiling by cocate
Houses by Veyis Polat
2 ladies by sly06
Dancer and boats by Kivanc Nis
2 boy by Alexander De Luca

Saudi Arabia: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by Melissa Chang |

Middle East, Saudi Arabia

FACTS & STATS

economic city

Location: Middle East, with Jordan on its Northwest, Iraq and Kuwait to the North, Red Sea to the West, Qatar, UAE, and Oman to the East, and Yemen to the South.

saudi mapCapital: Riyadh.

Climate: Dry desert climate with extreme temperatures.

Population: 28,686,633 as per July 2009 estimates. Of this, about 5,576,076 are expatriates. No Saudi citizen lives below the poverty line, but there is an unemployment rate of 8.8%. The Saudi economy is driven by crude oil production and the petroleum and natural gas industry. Other resources include cement, plastics, fertilizer, commercial aircraft and ship repairs.

Ethnic Make-up: Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%.

saudi ladyReligions: Islam 100%. All Saudi citizens are Muslims and they are governed by the Shari’a Law. Islam is the official religion, and there is not recognition of any other religion. There is a small minority of Christians and Jews who are non-nationals. The Saudi government does guarantee the right to practice other religions, but this is based on the generosity of the ruling class and not defined by law. Proselytising, public practice, and preaching of all faiths other than Islam is however, prohibited. Non-Muslims also come under the Shari’a law.

Language: Arabic

Government: Islamic Monarch 

camelTravel Issues: Saudi Arabia permits travelers to visit for religious, work, and business purposes and, to a much smaller extent, for tourism. Those visiting for religious purposes should have Pilgrim Passes and proof of Muslim faith in the form of an authenticated certificate. Passports should have a minimum validity of 6 months beyond period of stay. Other necessary documents include a valid visa, tickets or travel documents showing return or onward journey, and a Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate if arriving from an infected region within the last five days.

Health & Safety: Saudi society is governed by strict religious laws and visitors need to be cognizant of these. All people, including non-Muslims and expatriates, will be tried under the stringent Shari’a Law in a Muslim court. This makes it highly advisable to steer clear of all trouble while there. Saudi is a fairly safe destination for all who abide by the laws of the land. As for health, no vaccinations are mandatory, but Tetanus and Hepatitis A immunization may be considered. 

SOCIETY & CULTURE

prayers

The People

shopping in saudiSaudi society is highly patriarchal, and women traditionally follow a subservient role in both home and society. About 80% of Saudi women have a University education, but only about 5% consider it necessary to enter the workforce. Female doctors and teachers tend only to women and not men. Social segregation goes to great lengths in public life. Women are expected to take care of children and run homes rather than be seen outside. Foreign women are allowed some leeway in this regard but are almost never taken seriously if they were to voice an opinion or make a demand. They are advised as far as possible to follow the norms for Saudi women.

The Religion

saudi boyAll Saudi citizens are Muslim. Saudi is the land of the Prophet Mohammad and hence may be considered the headquarters of the Muslim faith. The land upholds this status vigorously, and non-Muslims are denied entry into their holy cities: Jeddah, Mecca and Medina.

Role of Family

Families uphold traditional values that go back hundreds of years. The eldest male is the sole authority when it comes to decision making, and his word is law in the household. Women have no equal rights as men but have to be subservient to them in all matters. Men take care of business and all matters outside of home, while women run the household affairs and bring up children.

Ancestors

pepsi in saudi arabiaAncestors are accorded the greatest respect. Lineage is a matter of great pride and honor to be upheld at all costs.

Recreational Activities

Major cities such as Riyadh have enormous shopping malls and entertainment centers. The Obhir Creek in Jeddah has great water sports facilities such as snorkeling, sailing, waterskiing, and swimming. Other recreation options are desert safaris and sightseeing tours.

Anything else important for this culture

It is important to remember that the month of Ramadan is when all Muslims fast all day long. It would be frowned upon to eat or even drink water in their presence. Remember to respect their prayer schedules which occur many times during the day. Always show respect for elders and seniors and reflect this in your body language. Never make direct eye contact with the opposite gender.

ETIQUETTE & CUSTOMS

palace

Meetings & Greetings

Members of the opposite gender do not greet or even make eye contact with each other. Women are expected to keep their eyes lowered on meeting men who are not family. Men and women greet each other of the same gender effusively with embraces and alternate kisses on the cheeks depending on the level of closeness. Otherwise they may just shake hands with each other. Foreigners may limit their greeting to a handshake. When in a group, always greet the elders before others.

saudi kingCourtesy

When greeting an elder or superior, it is customary among Saudis to kiss their shoulders to show respect. An elder of the family may be kissed on the forehead. Saudis consider it rude to go straight to business without making time for pleasantries first. Elders are never interrupted or spoken to first; always wait for them to begin the conversation.

Gift Giving

Gifts are not given or expected between acquaintances but rather between old friends and between those who share a strong relationship.Therefore, do not offer anyone a gift unless you’ve established a strong bond with them first. Avoid presenting perfumes, alcohol, or flowers to your Saudi hosts or friends. Chocolates, pastries, well-packaged fruits and nuts would be better options. Gifts are not opened as soon as they are received.

Dress Code

Formal occasions demand a suit and tie for men. Business casual is also acceptable. Women need to keep their arms, shoulders, knees and preferably ankles covered in male presence. A head scarf will make a suitable impression. Avoid heavy accessorising. Jeans, tight t-shirts, and shorts are not acceptable whatever the weather.

Dining Etiquette

skyscraper in saudi arabiaWait to be seated as there is a hierarchy based on seniority and superiority. If seated on the floor, keep your legs crossed under you. Make sure you do not eat before your appointment for there will be a huge amount of food served at the meal. You are expected to try a bit of everything and refuse nothing. Eat with your right hand only and never with the left.

Visiting a home

If you are invited into a Saudi home, it is because you have their respect. Show appropriate appreciation of this fact when you accept the invitation. Bring along a token gift for the children or the home, and never for the lady of the house. So avoid flowers and perfumes if you’re male. Always take off footwear before entering a carpeted room. Dress appropriately to show respect for the host. Greet elders first. Present your gift discreetly or leave it behind unseen.

Communication Style

Social segregation ensures that men and women only mingle with those of their own gender outside family and even during family occasions. Men tend to indulge in long conversations regarding businesses and world matters. As an outsider, you’re not expected to give strong opinions or contradict the opinions of an elder. Saudis tend to gesticulate a lot when they communicate, but this is not an indication of any temper.

Dos and Don’ts

While visiting a Saudi home, do not praise or admire any object in the house, for it will be wrapped up and given to you. Your refusal to accept it would be considered rude. Do not crack vulgar jokes or put down women, for although highly patriarchal, Saudi men consider the honor of their womenfolk sacrosanct. Do not engage in merry making during the holy month of Ramadan.

jewelryshop

Map by Image Editor
Boy by André Gustavo
Shop by Alan Light
City, skyscraper by uniquebuildings
Camel by Alan Light
Palace by desrunyan
Prayers by cmonville
King by m_bahareth
Saudi lady by retlaw snellac
Jewelry by Nouf Kinani
Pepsi by Francesco Crippa

South Africa: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by Lizbeth Pereira |

South Africa

 ocean1

FACTS & STATS

map1Location: Southern tip of African continent.

Capital: Pretoria.

Climate: Semi-arid, Sub-tropical.

Population: 48,782,756 according to July 2008 estimates. Nearly half the population, 50%, live under the poverty line with an unemployment rate of 24.3%. The presence of a considerable percentage of disadvantaged sections left over from the apartheid period, aging infrastructure, lack of investments, and other related issues have kept the South African economy from soaring in spite of abundant natural resources such as gold and diamonds. Steady growth has been recorded in recent times since 2004, but it is still an uphill task against considerable odds.

Ethnic Make-up: Black 79%, White 9.6%, Indian 2.5%, Others 8.9%.

boyReligions: Christianity (various denominations) 80%, Muslim 1.5%, Others 3.3%, Non-believers 15%. The government actively encourages Christianity, as a result of which much evangelization is carried out by various Christian denominations such as Protestants, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, and the Dutch Reformed Church.

Language: IsiZulu 23.8%, IsiXhosa 17.6%, Afrikaans 13.3%, Sepedi 9.4%, English 8.2%, Sesotho 7.9%, Xitsonga 4.4%, Others 7.2%.

Government: Republic.

cityTravel Issues: Travel to South Africa requires a valid passport with at least two blank pages, a valid visa, proof of adequate funds, and documents proving onward or return journey. If passing through regions affected by yellow fever, you need to produce a certificate stating you have been immunised. Some countries are exempt from the need for a visa and you’ll have to inquire at your nearest embassy to ascertain your specific requirements.

Health & Safety: No vaccinations are mandatory unless arriving from a yellow fever zone, in which case you need to provide certification of vaccination. Immunization against hepatitis B, tetanus, and measles may be considered. Sun protection may be required and it advised to bring along sunglasses, sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat. If traveling to National Parks, malaria prophylaxis is recommended.

soccer

SOCIETY & CULTURE

girls1The People

The South African population is predominantly black followed by a small minority of white and Asian people. The concept of Apartheid or Apartness was practiced to keep the racial divide intact in favor of the white minority. Though the practice has been abandoned, racial inequality is very pronounced in society.

The Religion

There is no state religion in South Africa, but Christianity in its various denominations is practiced widely. Over 2.5 million are Roman Catholics, followed closely by about 1.8 million Methodists, and 1.2 million Anglicans. Other faiths have a presence with about 350,000 Hindus, 100,000 Jews, and roughly 400,000 Muslims. In remote areas traditional faiths are still practiced by certain tribes.

huts

Role of Family

Family roles differ according to socio-economic status and ethnic background of the people. Families coming under the high class section with ample economic security have more stability when compared to the low income or unemployed sections of society. Traditionally, obedience and respect for parents is inculcated in the culture but a stressed socioeconomic status brings about unwanted pregnancies, desertion, living together, street violence, unemployment and other related ills that throw family life out of kilter. Generally speaking, people of ethnic backgrounds value their extended family members and communal living while the European background South Africans appear content with the nuclear family structure.

mandela1Ancestors

Ancestors are revered more in tribal communities where they are considered conduits with the spirit world.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities for the Europeandescent South Africans differ slightly from that of the African descent South Africans. The former love their cricket, rugby, and football, while the latter lean towards athletics, boxing, and football in less well maintained facilities. The National Parks are favorite haunts for trekking, hiking, and other outdoor sports.

Anything else important for this culture

Depending on who you are with you have to make adjustments to your social behaviour. Racial prejudice and violence are a fact of life, and travelers have to be on the watch out.

south african elephants

ETIQUETTE & CUSTOMS

Meetings & Greetings

Among South Africans of European descent, normal western conduct is all it takes where greeting and introductions are concerned. This can also be adopted in urban contexts. In rural areas greeting modes differ with the ethnic heritage of the person you’re interacting with and so it is best to seek the advice of local friends.

boys2Courtesy

It shows good form to keep your appointments on time and to be punctual for meetings and formal dinners. A lot depends on the good will you generate among the South African community. Members of the white community in rural areas are said to have Calvinists roots and to hold rather conservative views. It would pay to be extra vigilant with the manner of dressing and conduct when meeting them.

Gift Giving

Generally gifts are exchanged around Christmas time and presented for birthdays. If visiting a home, flowers, chocolates, or a bottle of wine is well received. It is alright to immediately open a gift and show appreciation upon receiving it.

lady2Dress Code

Although dress codes are getting more relaxed these days, it would be a good idea to stick to formal suits on first meetings. Women still face an uphill task when making their presence felt in the world of business, and dressing sensibly might ease the task a bit. Casual clothing is acceptable almost anywhere.

Dining Etiquette

Dining in urban cities follows western etiquette and does not call for any formal moves. When dining with other ethnic groups it is proper to be culture sensitive and follow cues.

Visiting a home

If invited to a home, arrive on time, well dressed, and bearing a token gift for the hostess. Casual clothing is acceptable if you’re not meeting for the first time.

Communication Style

The form of English spoken in South Africa may appear strange at first due to the strong Afrikaans influence. However you soon make sense of it and start using the same sentence constructions quite naturally. If something does not make sense, it is perfectly alright to ask again until you’ve understood.

Dos and Don’ts

The South African community has nuances of racial prejudice perhaps never experienced in other parts of the world. It would be advisable to not rush headlong into unknown territory where social behaviour is concerned but take caution as a watchword. Cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town have their share of daylight robberies and bold pick pockets. Take care to keep your valuables out of sight and keep duplicates of all important documents separately. Always be courteous regardless of the ethnic origin of the person you’re interacting with.

shanty1

Boys, shanty, lady, and boy photos by thomas_sly
Soccer photo by Celso Flores
Elephant photo by exfordy
Girls in pink photo by borderlys
Johannesburg by austinevan
Mandela book photo by maureen lunn

Famous Missionary to Texas: Antonio Margil

by Carol Grace |

Famous Missionaries, Mexico, Native America, North America

margil paintingThere is nothing I like better than finding a new famous missionary that I have never heard of. In this case, it’s even more amazing, because Antonio Margil was a famous missionary to Texas – my home state.

Antonio Margil was the real deal and seriously devoted to his work. Originally from Spain, Margil volunteered to travel to the “new world” to become a missionary to the native indians and settlers in 1683. Antonio was actually a friar since the age of 15 and had devoted his life to God ever since. Once in the new world, Antonio quickly became a legend. He faced death, torture, persecution, hardship, starvation, illness and much more, yet he founded 3 colleges, hundreds of missions, and saw thousands and thousands of converts. In Gautemala alone, it is said he saw 80,000 come to faith.

Fray Antonio Margil de Jesus was extrememly devoted. He gave himself the nickname “Nothingness Itself” and even signed his letters that way. This barefoot friar refused to wear shoes and insisted on walking everywhere. He walked to all the scattered regions that he served, from Costa Rica to Texas, and it has been estimated that he walked eighty thousand miles in the New World.

“To enjoy God there is an eternity given to us; but to perform some service for God and to do some good to our brethren, the time for that is very short.”

Along his journeys with his fellow friars, he would preach to whomever he met, teaching and establishing missions. He faced resistance, attacks, sickness, and persecution, yet his perseverance boldness and kindness became legend.

It is said that one Terrabi chief said he would kill him if he came. Margil immediately went to his village where they were preparing a war party and went right into the chief’s abode. The chief upon seeing this rather small bold man, laid down his weapons and welcomed him.

His reputation for discovering false idols was such that in many Indian villages, when word would arrive that Fr. Antonio Margil was coming, they would gather ahead of time their false gods for him to burn.

On one famous mission, they went along the border of Mexico among the Lacandons. When the missionaries arrived there even their guides abandoned them, fearful of these indians refuted to be cannibals. Entering their territory, the missionaries were captured, stripped, bound to trees and commanded with the threat of death to worship the village idols. They refused and preached the Gospel instead. For the three days the men were kept tied up and tortured. When the Indians saw that Antonio and his fellow friars seemed to stay cheerful and fearless, they thought they posessed some sort of power. They eventually released them and commanded never to return. Of course, they eventually did return and saw many converts.

Another thing Antonio was famous for was his kindness. He often ploughed and sowed the native indian’s gardens, helping them with their work and collecting fruits, nuts and other products for them.

He also gained much fame for his reported miracles. There are several accounts of the friar drawing water from a rock in Nacogdoches, reading people’s hearts, predicting the future, healing, walking on water, and even showing up in 2 places at once. These stories of miracles only increased his legend and fame among the Indian people and his fellow Spaniards.

Although he told a friend that he wanted to die in Texas in a place he loved with the Indian people he loved, he actually died in Mexico City after 43 years of missionary service at the age of 69. To this day, Antonio is being considered for sainthood. If he receives it, he will be Texas’ first saint.

To read more, visit this site or this site.

Norway: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by Melissa Chang |

Europe, Norway

Town in Norway
Photo by ezioman

FACTS & STATS

Norway mapLocation: Northern Europe, sharing borders with Finland, Sweden, and Russia with the North Sea on the west and the Barent Sea to the north.

Capital: Oslo.

Climate: Temperate along the coast and colder in the interiors.

Population: 4,660,539 as of July 2009. There are no Norwegians living below the poverty line and the unemployment rate is just about 2%. The Norwegian economy is on the right track with the government controlling vital areas such as the petroleum industry. Rich resources such as hydropower, forestry, minerals, and deep sea fishing bring in considerable revenue for the State.

viking shipEthnic Make-up: Norwegian 94.4% including about 60,000 indigenous Sami, Others 5.6%.

Religions: Church of Norway 85.7%, Pentecostal 1%, Roman Catholic 1%, Muslim 1.8%, Others 10.5%. The Constitution grants freedom to practise all religions in Norway. Proselytisers of Christianity and Islam work freely within the country.

Language: Bokmal Norwegian, Nynorsk Norwegian, Sami, and Finnish.

Government: Constitutional Monarchy.

Travel Issues: Norway is part of the Schengen co-operation and so travellers from other Schengen countries can enter Norway without a passport as long as they have satisfactory identification. Croatian citizens do not need a visa to enter Norway. All others need a valid passport, visa, and onward or return travel documents.

Health & Safety: Norway has excellent health standards no travel warnings exist for travelling to the country. However, it might be good thinking to take a tetanus shot and flu shot and take precautions against Hepatitis A. 

Cascading Ice in Norway

SOCIETY & CULTURE

Nightlife in OsloThe People

The Norwegian population consists mainly of the Nordic people and the indigenous Sami people. Though relations between the two have historically been not very smooth, they co-exist peacefully in these modern times. Recently Norway has seen fit to take in immigrants and asylum seekers from other parts of the world and this makes up about 6% of the total population. most of these immigrants come from Sweden, Denmark, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.

Norway PortThe Religion

The Church of Norway is the State religion and has the highest percentage of adherents. Other smaller denominations have their own followers and many are engaged actively in the spreading of their brand of Christianity. The government has faced issues regarding the wearing of the Muslim women’s dress, Hijab, in public places inviting protests from many quarters.

Role of Family

Norwegian families are nuclear and it is not considered unusual for partners to have children without marriage. Young folks fall in love and set up family units according to their wishes with or without formal marriages. 

Ancestors

Norwegians treat their ancestors with cordiality but are not particularly sentimental or attached to them.

norway sheepRecreational Activities

All modern recreational activities that you would expect in any western country will be found in Norway. Norwegians love the great outdoors and have a number of parks and gardens to make the best of what little sunlight they get.

Anything else important for this culture

Norwegians enjoy an excellent standard of life and are simple, practical people who are not entirely given up to consumerism or pointless extravagance. A striking feature of Norwegian society is that children as young as 13 years are allowed to drink alcohol, although with 22% proof. Only 20 year olds are permitted to purchase stronger drinks.

Bergen, Norway
Photo by JRFoto

ETIQUETTE & CUSTOMS

historical church in norwayMeetings & Greetings

Meetings are initiated as in any western culture with a firm handshake for both men and women with a short exchange of pleasantries. First names are exchanged right at the beginning during introductions. However, it would be wise to be invited to do so by your host. 

Courtesy

Norwegians value their ‘please’ and ‘thank yous’ just as anybody else. They are generally soft-spoken and well-mannered and rarely given to show of temper or disagreements. Humility and broadmindedness mark their attitudes to others. This is endorsed in the Jante Law which perfectly sums up the Norwegian attitude.

norway trollGift Giving

Gift giving is usual for Christmas, birthdays and other occasions. If you are invited to a Norwegian home, it would be a nice gesture to bring along some expensive wine, flowers, or chocolates for the hostess. Gifts are opened right away.

Dress Code

Western attire is the norm and the degree of formality depends on the occasion. However, Norwegians do not take kindly to dressing down in tattered clothes and wearing dusty shoes even at the most casual affairs. Business attire leans to the darker shades and classic cuts. 

Dining Etiquette

norway grass roofIf invited to dinner, be punctual. Ensure you have the right dress code. The fork goes in the left hand and the knife in the right. Even sandwiches may be eaten with cutlery. To signal you’ve had enough, place your cutlery face down and crosswise across your plate. Beer is never used to toast. At the end of the meal you may offer help to clean up. Before leaving, invite your hosts for a dinner at your place.

Visiting a home

If invited to visit a Norwegian home, arrive on the dot. Dress formally and have a gift for the hostess in the form of flowers, candy, or wine, well wrapped. If gifting flowers, avoid carnations, lilies, or any white flowers as these are used at funerals.  Norwegians do not discuss business at the dinner table, so refrain from bringing up such topics. 

Communication Style

Norwegians are friendly, uncomplicated people and quite informal in their communication. They always show genuine interest and give you undivided attention even if you’re discussing the weather. It is common to have long gaps in conversation without any urgent need to cover the gaps. Interrupting someone mid-conversation is considered extremely rude. Norwegians like their personal space and so maintain arms length when conversing. 

fjord

Dos and Don’ts

Though informal in nature, Norwegians like to keep dining and other such occasions quite formal. They make every attempt to be politically right in their conversations and you should do the same. Bragging or sounding off on personal achievements are looked down upon and will definitely lower you in their eyes. Women enjoy equal rights in society and in the work place and make very good negotiators; do not take them lightly or make sexist jokes. Waving your index finger and even pointing at someone with it is considered rude and of course, so is the use of the middle finger. The possession, use, and trafficking of drugs invites long prison sentences and heavy fines if found guilty.

Sheep photo by Ola Wiberg
Troll photo weisserstier
Ship photo by Jame Cridland
Port photo by jaybergesen
Church photo by zoetnet

Letter from an Indian Pastor

by Melissa Chang |

India, Stories from the Field

greetingsfromindia

Dear Missions Launch,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As you have asked about me, I want to share a small testimony of myself.

I came from a Hindu Religion Background, who worshipped idols and deamons. I am the only son to my Mother and I have no brothers and sisters.

In this worldly life I was enjoying all the evil things in my life, and one day (in the year 1992) I was fedup with all these thing in my life and decided to commit suicide. In that time a believer of Jesus Christ preached to me the Gospel of Lord Jesus, and in the evening of the same day he showed a film made on Jesus Christ named DAYASAGARA. As I was seeing the film I saw Jesus getting nailed for the sins made by us, and at the same time I confessed all my sins and accepted him as my Saviour and decided to live for Him.
After some days growing in Christ and in His word I got baptized on 10/03/1992. The Lord called me for His service when I was in prayer. He said:

“Do not make anything for yourself in this world but hope for the reward in the Heaven”

Then I came to know that if I win souls for His Kingdom I will get a greater reward in Heaven. At this time of calling I was just 15 yrs old.

A preacher told that he will take me to a Bible college and took me to a place where many of them were distributing the literatures of Jesus and showing the films based on Jesus but not to Bible college. Glory be to God that He used me mightily there for 3 years. later in 1995-1996 I got an oppurtunity to study in a Bible college. I completed my Bible College and I was praying for which place I shoud go to preach the gospel, and I was praying that it should be a place where the word of God has not yet been recieved. Then God guided me through His visions to go to Holenarsipura in 1997.

When I came to this place not even a single home was available for me to stay but there was a small congregation of believers. I went to them to ask for help to preach the gospel but they created a oppositional environment for me in such a way that I will not get any chance to preach the gospel there. So I went back to my hometown and prayed with fasting for this place to be reached by God and to get a rented home for me to stay in this place. Then God said to Me that “Human is equal to a piece of grass why are you afraid of him?” These words encouraged me a lot and I decided that it will be for His sake if I live, and if I die it will be for His sake. And keeping faith on Him I packed all my luggage and went to Holenarsipura.

By His Grace and Mercy it has been 13 years I am serving  Him in this place in spite of many struggles and problems. God has increased by ministry and there is a congregation of (400-500) rural people who came to know JESUS in this place. God has led us so gracefully that we have been able to heal devil spirits and bondages by His power and many are healed.

We also run a Sunday school which helps us in making children equipped in Jesus Christ. The Lord has also helped us in conducting women fellowship in which every women is helped by the word of God and has been able to preach a few things about God and lead others to Jesus Christ. Also we are able to provide food to some beggers and poor in our area by His grace.

By the help of God and  we have a land to build a church. In it we need a church to be built of around 8000 sq ft area and we are praying for that.

So do please pray for our ministry and for the church building. It would be helpful to us a lot that we will be introduced to your readers and they can pray for us.

Note: I am sending some photos of the Congregation gathered in a prayer meeting, Sunday school children, and baptisms.

I will always keep praying for you and for you ministry.

Please pray for My ministry and for My Family.

Your prayers are very precious for us.

Your Brother

Pr.Vasanth

baptism in India

vasanth in prayer

Indian baptism

From Prisoner to Missionary: Jacob DeShazer

by Melissa Chang |

Famous Missionaries, Japan, Uncategorized

Jacob DeShazerIt was December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Peal Harbor. Jacob DeShazer was a 29 year old seargent in the US army. When he heard about the raid, he made it his goal to pay back the Japanese. He volunteered to join a special group that would attack Tokyo and turned the tide of the Pacific war. Unfortunately, after his successful mission, he and his team had to ditch their planes, parachuting into enemy territory. They were captured.

For the next three years, he paid a heavy price for his bravery as the Japanese beat, tortured and starved him as a “war criminal.” He was held in a series of P.O.W. camps both in Japan and China for 40 months — 34 of them in solitary confinement. He was severely beaten and malnourished while three of the crew were executed by a firing squad, and another died of slow starvation.

Filled with hatred and rage towards all Japanese, something seemingly impossible happened. DeShazer vowed to spend his life as a missionary, telling the Japanese of Christ’s love. So, what changed him? He asked for a Bible towards the end of his imprisonment and had a radical conversion experience that changed his life forever.

Here are some excerpts from a tract that DeShazer wrote and had distributed around Japan about his experience.

I WAS A PRISONER OF JAPAN
by Jacob DeShazer (1950)

“I was a prisoner of Japan for forty long months, thirty-four of them in solitary confinement

When I flew as a member of General Jimmy Doolittle’s squadron on the first raid over Japan on April 18th, 1942, my heart was filled with bitter hatred for the people of that nation. When our plane ran out of gas, and the members of the crew of my plane had to parachute down into Japanese-held territory in China and were captured by the enemy, the bitterness of my heart against my captors seemed more than I could bear.

Taken to Tokyo with the survivors of another of our planes, we were imprisoned and beaten, half-starved, and denied by solitary confinement even the comfort of association with one another, these terrible tortures taking place at Tokyo, Shanghai, Nanking and Peiping. Three of my buddies, Dean Hallmark, Fill Farrow and Harold Spatz, were executed by a firing squad about six months after our capture, and fourteen months later another of them, Bob Meder [a strong Christian], died of slow starvation. My hatred for the Japanese people nearly drove me crazy.

It was soon after Meder’s death that I began to ponder the cause of such hatred between members of the human race. I wondered what it was that made the Japanese hate the Americans, and what made me hate the Japanese. my thoughts turned toward what I had heard about Christianity changing hatred between human beings into real brotherly love, and I was gripped with a strange longing to examine the Christian’s Bible to see if I could find the secret. I begged my captors to get a Bible for me. At last, in the month of May, 1944, a guard brought the Book, but told me I could have it for only three weeks.

I eagerly began to read its pages. Chapter after chapter gripped my heart. …

How my heart rejoiced in my newness of spiritual life, even though my body was suffering so terribly from the physical beatings and lack of food. But suddenly I discovered that God had given me new spiritual eyes, and that when I looked at the Japanese officers and guards who had starved and beaten me and my companions so cruelly, I found my bitter hatred for them changed to loving pity. I realized that these Japanese did not know anything about my Saviour and that if Christ is not in a heart, it is natural to be cruel. I read in my Bible that while those who crucified Jesus on the cross had beaten Him and spit upon Him before He was nailed to the cross, He tenderly prayed in His moment of excruciating suffering, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” And now from the depths of my heart, I too prayed for God to forgive my torturers, and I determined by the aid of Christ to do my best to acquaint the Japanese people with the message of salvation that they might become as other believing Christians. …

At last freedom came. On August 20th, 1945, American parachutists dropped onto the prison grounds and released us from our cells. We were flown back to the United States and placed in hospitals where we slowly regained our physical strength.

I have completed my training in a Christian College, God having clearly commanded me: “Go, teach the Japanese people the way of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ,” and am now in Japan as a missionary, with the one single purpose to lead me – to make Christ known.

I am sending this testimony to people everywhere, with the earnest prayer that a great host of people may confess Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.”

In one of the most inspiring stories and miraculous stories to come out of this story, Fuchida, the Japanese pilot who bombed Pearl Harbor, and DeShazer, the Doolittle Raider who bombed Tokyo, became close friends. Fuchida became a Christian in 1950 after reading the DeShazer’s testimony above – and, like DeShazer, he spent the rest of his life as a missionary in Asia

Here is a video interview with Jacob DeShazer from CBN

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I was a Prisoner of Japan is DeShazer’s story as told to Don R. Falkenberg of The Bible Meditation League (BML), 1950.

Famous Missionary: Robert Jermain Thomas

by Carol Grace |

Famous Missionaries, Korea

 Man on Fire

Photo by Focal Intent

I was looking up famous missionaries yesterday and ran across someone I had never heard of before: Robert Jermain Thomas. After reading his biography, I was amazed. Why haven’t I heard of this man before?  His story is extremely powerful.

Why haven’t I heard of this man before?

Robert Jermain Thomas went to China in the 1800’s to be a missionary with his wife. However, Robert’s most famous story actually occurs in Korea. After a 5 month boat trip to get to China, he lost his young wife who died shortly after arrival. Robert stayed in China, but resigned from his missionary post. About a year later, he met 2 Korean Catholics who would change his destiny forever.

north korean billboardAt that time, all of Korea was called the Hermit Kingdom. It was known for its hostility to outsiders, similar to North Korea today, but possibly even more extreme.  There had been several priests in Korea since 1785, and those few priests were meeting in small house type churches with thousands of believers who had no Bibles or scriptures. The authorities were very hostile to Christianity and massacred almost 10,000 at one point around the same time Robert was in China.

Robert was very moved about the plight of the Koreans and begin making secret trips on trading ships to distribute Bibles under heavy disguise and serious threat of death if caught. His last trip was in 1866 on an American merchant trading ship as a translator. Upon entering Pyongyang, the current capital of North Korea, a battle ensued. The Koreans did not want the foreign traders there, and the captain of the American ship reportedly started shooting. This caused the Koreans to retaliate. During the battle the ship got stuck on a sand bar and the Koreans caught the ship on fire. Those who escaped and swam to shore were quickly killed by the soldiers on the banks.

On the deck of the burning ship, Robert flung open his cases of Bibles and began flinging them to the villagers on the shore watching and to the soldiers themselves shouting “Jesus!”  Finally, Robert himself caught on fire, still throwing the Bibles and jumped into the river. As he swam to shore he begged the awaiting soldier to take a Bible from him. Witnesses say the soldier was reluctant to kill him, but did his duty. Robert was only 27.

small handsMeanwhile, the scene of this passionate man so caring about the Bibles touched those on the shores who witnessed it. Some felt bad about destroying the Bibles he had so passionately tried to give away and took them home, using them as wallpaper.  Eventually, out of curiosity, they started reading the pages.

About 5o years later a huge revival broke out in Pyongyang. in 1904 10,000 became Christian. In 1906, 30,000…In 1907, 50,000 more. Finally, in 1931 a memorial church was built on the spot to honor Robert Jermain Thomas, who had died so passionately trying to give away Bibles with his last breath.

The soldier who had killed Robert, did end up taking the Bible. Choon Kwon Park later played an important role in establishment of the Pyongany Church. Today, many Koreans still visit the home of Robert Jermain Thomas in Wales to pay their respects and to remember.

To read more articles on Robert Jermain Thomas you can click here or here.

To purchase an autobiography of Robert’s life, you can visit Emmaus Road to find a copy of Stella Price’s book, Chosen for Choson.

Billboard photo by Mark Scott Johnson
Begging photo by Photos8.com

Nigeria: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by Lizbeth Pereira |

Africa, Nigeria

woman at nigerian market 

FACTS & STATS

map of nigeriaLocation: Western Africa, bounded by Niger in the North, Cameroon in the East, Benin in the West, and the Gulf of Guinea in the South.

Capital: Abuja.

Climate: Nigeria experiences tropical weather with some aridity in the North and equatorial weather in the South.

Population: 149,229,090 as per July 2009 estimates. About 70% of the population live below poverty line while unemployment rate hovers at 4.9%. Nigerian economy is solely dependant on its rich yet underutilised oil reserves. Political instability and corruption have led to inadequate management of resources. In recent times the Nigerian government has begun to focus on infrastructure in a bid to bring about economic reforms. Other than oil Nigeria has resources such as coal, tin, palm oil, peanuts, cotton, rubber, cement, chemicals, and a successful shipping industry.

traditional nigerian drummersEthnic Make-up: Main ethnic groups from about 250 are Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%

Religions: Islam 50%, Christianity 40%, and other native religions. The Constitution guarantees freedom to practice all faiths.

Language: The official language is English, but about 500 different languages are spoken in Nigeria. Some important native tongues are Yoruba, Ibo, Hausa, and Kanuri.

Government: Federal Republic

Travel Issues: Travel to Nigeria requires a valid passport, a Nigerian visa, and a return ticket. A visa application has to be accompanied by 3 recent passport size photographs, visa fees, an onward ticket, and a letter of invitation/reason for wanting to visit Nigeria. Visas cannot be obtained on entry or at the border. Extensions can be obtained from the Immigration Department of the Federal Secretariat.

Health & Safety: Yellow Fever vaccination is mandatory for all travellers to Nigeria. Other recommended immunisations include Tetanus, Hepatitis A & B, Polio, Typhoid, Malaria and Meningitis.

motorcycles in lagos 

SOCIETY & CULTURE

kids in nigeriaThe People

Nigeria is home to about 250 ethnic groups, each with their own languages and customs. People are very traditional when it comes to marriage and family life. Christians are allowed only one wife while Muslims may have as much as four. Extended families are the norm and often wives in a polygamist set-up work together in farms.

nigerian manThe Religion

Main religions practiced in Nigeria are Islam and Christianity. Christians occupy the Eastern and Southern States of the country while Muslims are to be found in the North.

Role of Family

In rural Nigeria, the onus for earning an income, as well as taking care of the family, often falls on women. Women tend to farms as well as make and sell homemade products to feed and clothe their children. Men are very patriarchal in their attitudes to women; however, mothers and sisters have more say in family matters than wives do. Having a number of offspring is a matter of pride for a man.  

Ancestors

A belief in animism prompts a strong faith that appeasing ancestral spirits brings good fortune and prosperity to the tribes. Therefore, ancestors are propitiated with a number of rituals including animal sacrifice and juju ceremonies with animal skulls and bones to ensure their blessings. Even some Christians share these beliefs and incorporate these rituals in their mode of worship. Elaborate masks made of bronze, wood, or terracotta, are worn at funerals to appease the dead soul. 

peppers in nigerian marketRecreational Activities

Football, aka soccer, is a popular recreational activity. Big cities such as Lagos have all sorts of modern recreational outlets including sports venues and computer games. Cricket, polo, and wrestling are considered pastimes of the affluent. 

Anything else important for this culture

Inter-ethnic fighting is a source of great instability in the social fabric. Similarly, religion forms the basis for quite a few conflicts. These are compounded by poverty and a terrible divide between the rich and the poor. Elders in Nigerian communities, both male and female, are accorded a great deal of respect. They are greeted by kneeling down before them as old age is believed to be a divine gift bestowed only on a worthy few. Nigerians set great store by education and therefore, like to be addressed by any title they may possess.

 nigerian market

ETIQUETTE & CUSTOMS

Meetings & Greetings

Meetings between Nigerians involve a handshake followed by rather lengthy well-wishes bestowing good health and prosperity for everyone including family members. This holds true for old friends as well as someone introduced for the first time. Often business meetings commence only after such elaborate greetings on both sides. Muslim Nigerians may not shake the hands or touch the opposite gender in any way while greeting them.

3 nigerian ladiesCourtesy

Always show respect for elders. It is considered bad manners to use your left hand to pass things or pick up anything. Avoid discussing politics and issues such as religion, corruption or civil unrest with strangers or casual acquaintances.

Gift Giving

If invited to visit a Nigerian home it is good to bring along a token gift in the form of chocolates, pastries, or fruit. Gifts should be handed over and received with both hands and never with the left hand alone. Gifts are not opened as soon as they are received.

nigerian soccerDress Code

A definite hierarchy exists in Nigerian society and you need to dress according to the level you are moving in. If meeting with someone from the affluent circles, a formal suit or jacket would be necessary. Women need to be dressed conservatively and may accessorize generously. While in other circles,dressing calls for tact, and care has to be taken to not look overdressed. Casual to smart clothing minus accessories would be considered appropriate. It is always wise to avoid expensive jewellery and flashy clothes when traveling in strange places.

Dining Etiquette

Etiquette requires you to wash your hands before and after a meal. Nigerians are very hospitable people and ensure that guests have eaten before they themselves sit down to a meal. This is especially so in rural areas.

children in nigeriaVisiting a home

Leave your footwear outside before entering a home. While seated ensure your foot is not pointed outwards at anyone or at the food. Tea will be offered in three rounds with increased sweetness to signify the flowering of the relationship between the host and the guest. Never refuse these rounds of tea even if all you imbibe is a sip. Fruit juices may also be served. Food and drink should not be taken at the same time. never pour your own drink or refill; always wait for the host to do so.

Communication Style

Nigerians open up only after they have established a relationship. Thus the initial stages of a business meeting may well be spent on chit chat that might appear meaningless. Direct eye contact may appear an affront in conservative societies or when speaking with older people, and so, the gaze should be directed to the forehead or shoulders when speaking with them.

nigerian town

Dos and Don’ts

Do not rush directly to matters at hand but rather spend ample time on greeting and introductions however pressed for time you may be. Do not rush to a first name basis unless invited to do so. If greeting a woman take the cue from her on whether to shake her hand or merely bow gently in greeting. If offering gifts to a woman, men have to mention that it is conveyed from their mother, wife or sister. Women, as a rule, do not travel alone and may face problems if they attempt to do so, especially after dark. Do not order pork or alcohol if dining with Muslims.

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Motorcycles, market lady and peppers by satanoid
Town and drummers by
Barefoot In Florida
3 ladies and 4 kids by
OziAfricana
Soccer by
manbeastextraordinaire
Man in market by
airpanther
Man walking by
jbracken

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