Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thank You - Another Culture Where It's Not Used So Much

"It was time for dinner. The old woman outside, his wife, fed us beans and cabbage, and there was all the water one could dream of.  I thanked hiim, and he said, "You are our guest.  You do not say thank you.  Would you thank your mother?" (p. 152)
This comes from Robert Sapolsky's A Primate's Memoir.  I've already posted about the book here and here.  He'd just
"lurched through 110 - degree dust for the [last] twelve hours, covering 130 miles"
from the desert of Juba, Sudan up into the mountain logging town of Katire.  This happened some time in the 80's but Sapolsky is loose with when things happened, or else I just missed it.  (You can see some recent pictures of Katire here.)

He'd just had an interaction at the police station about his right to be there.  Then, it's resolved.  He gets his passport back.
"We relaxed, his job over.  Suddenly, he lunged at me, said, "We must go now."  Wha, wha, what did I do?  It was time for dinner."
I'm posting this as a follow up to an earlier post that included a snippet on how Chinese think Americans say thank you way too much.

And because of the turmoil going on now between the new nation of Southern Sudan (Juba is the capital) and the Sudan it broke from.  Below is a map.  I added Katire, that's approximately where it is.

Sapolsky's work with baboons was initiated by his interest in the social causes of stress and here's a link to a three minute video of Sapolsky - a Stanford professor now - talking about stress in humans compared to other animals.

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