María Fernanda Salas Emily González

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Group 3

María Fernanda Salas

Emily González

Pablo Vindas

The White Masai Group Work

  1. German culture: Carola's culture is a low context culture. Carola is direct and to-the-point when she speaks. She does not understand some situations, like when Lemalian is giving money to the guard, because she is not aware of some Masai rules or customs. The German culture depicted in the movie is also individualistic. For example, Carola is not satisfied with her husband's business. She needs something for herself, regardless of how things are done in the Masai tribe. Carola shows a low uncertainty avoidance index. She is not afraid to turn her life around completely and go live with Lemalian. She does not think about potential problems. She follows her heart without fearing what might or might not happen.

Masai Culture: Lemalian's culture is clearly a high context culture. Not a lot of rules are explained to Carole when she first joins the tribe. No one explains to her what the woman is telling her at the beginning; everyone just expects Carola to know. Masai culture is also a collective culture. They are a community and they always work like that. They even make important decisions together, like when an older man decided the fine that both Carola and the military man would pay because of their altercation. In the Masai culture, face saving is also very important. Lemalian gets very upset whenever Carola tells him what to do or confronts him in a way that is disrespectful in his culture. In Masai culture there is a high power distance index. It is a vertical hierarchy. Every person has their own place and they will never be able to move up or down in society.

  1. Carola suffers from a great culture shock when she arrives to the tribe. In fact, this culture shock starts from the first time she and Lemalian have sex. She is not used to rough sex so she is turned off by Lemalian's actions. Carola is completely lost when she arrives to the tribe. She does not know what to do and no one seems willing to help her. Furthermore, there is a language barrier which she cannot overcome. Slowly she starts understanding the Masai tribe because she decides to do things their way instead of imposing her views. However, there are some exceptions to this. When a girl is about to be circumcised, she cannot believe what is going on. Instead of just letting it happen, she yells at Lemalian to help her stop it. The same happens when a pregnant woman is having trouble giving birth. The Masai believe that this woman is bewitched so they are willing to let her die. Carola, however, cannot conceive this and tries her best to take the pregnant woman to a clinic. In these two situations, Carola's world view dominates her behavior. She is sure that the German way is the best way of solving these problems.

  1. The girl's circumcision: In this scene, Carola and Lemalian's differences cannot be solved. Carola is aware of how awful the mutilation is; Lemalian sees it as part of the girl's life. It is hard to watch this scene without cringing. We of course sided with Carola because we know how dangerous this process is and how the girl can be hurt, both mentally and physically. It is hard to side with Lemalian if we do not know anything about the history or the reasons for this event to happen.

The pregnant woman: This is another scene where their differences seem impossible to solve. Carola is desperate to help the woman but Lemalian is not willing to help her. He believes that the woman is bewitched. In the end, however, he gives in and helps Carola. For this scene, we again sided with Carola. We know that there is no such thing as being bewitched so this is not a good reason to let someone die. We would have done exactly what Carola did: take the woman to a hospital and try to help her as much as possible.

Lemalian driving: In this scene, Lemalian asks Carola is he can drive her truck. After a terrible attempt at it, he crashed the old truck against a tree. What makes this scene seem impossible to solve is that Carola yells at Lemalian and embarrasses him in front of members of his tribe. In this case, we side with Lemalian. He is not used to anyone yelling at him, let alone a woman. He was trying his best to drive and still, his wife yelled at him. In our case, had we been Carola, we would have tried to find a better way to get him to drive properly. Yelling at him only worsened the problem.

  1. World view is definitely one of the main reasons why Carola and Lemalian cannot get along very well. First of all, Carola is a woman from a "developed" country in which religious, economic and gender issues are not as extreme as they are in Lemalian's place. On the other hand, the Masai culture includes female alienation and circumcision, low hygiene policies, and quite different cultural contexts, among other aspects that are very difficult for Carola to accept or understand. The conflicts between Carola and Lemalian go from just the fact that Carola is used to looking in the eye of people hence he gets extremely jealous to the fact that she cannot understand how he did not help her assist a woman that was about to die because according to the Masai beliefs, she had been bewitched. In this way, one can see how their so different world views affect them both until they just cannot live together. Neither their love, nor Carola's try to understand the Masai culture are enough to preserve their family. Consequently, it can be said that, apart from the wedding scene when everything seems possible for them to make up, we never get again a situation where both of them seem totally happy. They never discuss what is happening in their relationship thus they fight for something, they get mad, they separate, and finally one of them ask for forgiveness, and this is repeated all over the movie several times.

    5. Many of the Costa Rican traits would strongly collide with the Masai culture for sure. First, the fact that women get circumcised at the age of 15 and that they can die because of it, that they would not help a woman in labor because they think she is enchanted, that they only eat goat meat and sugar, that they do not show love in public, warriors cannot touch or be touched by women in public, or they cannot eat in public. Also they way in which they live, this is, the way in which their houses are built and how they inhabit them. The whole family lives in the same place and they sleep all together. They do not have a doctor or a school. The list of aspects that Costa Ricans would find shocking from the Masai culture is endless. Likewise, Carola finds all those things difficult to believe and adopt as hers; for example, women's circumcision is something she never accepted and given the case that her daughter grew up in that village, she would never let them circumcise Sarai. Furthermore, she actually changed many aspects in the Masai culture. Carola bought a car, opened a store, brought food and new things to a place that was not even in the tourist map. Finally, Carola is a quite open minded and determined woman that left everything to be with Lemalian that, despite her experience in traveling and accepting new cultures, she would not be very different from a Costa Rican woman in her situation.

6. Like in every other place nowadays racism is present. During the movie, we can find de division of 3 different groups: The native group, City Kenyans and foreigners. One of the most vivid examples is when. Carola tries to get Lemalian into the hotel that they are staying and he is rejected; automatically he understands and leaves with no complication on his mind. Another character that represents racism in the movie is Carola´s Husband. This is the typical person that denies the existence of racism and tries to play along to please a changing society towards this matter. During Lemalian presence he does not want to get involved with them, and silently he rejects any new opportunity to learn from them and enjoy their culture.

7. Carola tried to defy ethnocentrism and get involved with a totally different culture. She went after love and found lots of obstacles that she endured through the movie. This movie takes the concept of tolerance up to a boiling point. The unbearable experiences that she has to go through clearly breaks down the fact of being part of and respecting and getting along with the culture. Even though this brave character tries to fit in, she cannot handle the extreme manifestation of the native culture such as the circumcision of the young girl and the woman giving birth on the road. Carola did not do something wrong because she tried to prove a point. Respect and toleration not always convey getting involved. In the same way, Lemalian tried to get along with Carola´s independence but he could not stand it. The movie explores the concept of understanding and exemplifies how what we might think is inhuman, like the circumcision, is normal for them; on the other way, what they might think is completely wrong, Carola´s independence and the introduction of capitalism with the store, we think is normal.

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