From un­der­stand­ing to ad­mi­ra­tion

ChinAfrica - - Lifestyle -

Dur­ing his free time, Bo used to write down his ca­reer ex­pe­ri­ences and anec­dotes in a diary, which he emailed to his fam­ily and friends once a week. Lit­tle by lit­tle, af­ter three years, he man­aged to write more than 800,000 words.

Keep­ing his diary en­cour­aged him to fur­ther ex­plore his knowl­edge of lo­cal cus­toms. Al­though his mis­sion was lim­ited to the State of Bauchi, he de­cided to travel around the coun­try in his free time. Dur­ing the three years, he vis­ited 31 of the 36 states in Nige­ria.

In the street, he of­ten saw Nige­rian women car­ry­ing bas­kets on their head. Though this prac­tice may seem un­usual to some, Bo found wis­dom in the cus­tom: their bas­kets not only shel­tered them from the harsh trop­i­cal sun­light, but also freed their hands, while walk­ing to their des­ti­na­tion.

“This prac­tice has ex­isted for a long time, so it must have its pur­pose,” said Bo, who al­ways seeks to un­der­stand the lo­cal way of life by rec­og­niz­ing its mer­its.

Some­times, he saw peo­ple who are not fa­mil­iar with each other, ex­change greet­ings for long pe­ri­ods of time. This is in stark con­trast with the Chi­nese, who are rather re­served when meet­ing un­fa­mil­iar peo­ple.

This style of greet­ing seemed to him a lit­tle bizarre at first; how­ever he soon be­came ac­cus­tomed to it. Now, hav­ing re­turned to China, he has kept this habit and of­ten greets com­plete strangers in the street. “It’s such a sim­ple ges­ture, but it’s very hu­man, isn’t it?” he

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