We are culture makers

image by NewFrontiers

I remember the first time someone said that to me. “Stop trying to find culture, you are culture, you’re creating it.” I thought that guy had lost his mind. I’d spent the last several years traveling through many countries and taking in different cultures – trying to cram pieces of all of them into my own life. Some people collect postcards from their travels, or lockets, or…whatever it is people collect. I collected culture. Walking into my house feels like a trip to World Market.
The more I traveled, the more I saw the importance of culture and how it shapes a community and a people group. I became fascinated by the reasons or meanings behind things. I began to wonder what my own culture looked like. It’s much harder to look in a mirror than out a window.
It is so hard to recognize our own culture because it’s not as simple as examining a painting, a dance or a cuisine. It’s institutionalized and indoctrinated. In order to view our own culture, we have to take a pretty heavy look inward. What is it I believe about the world, about life, about people? Why do I believe those things? What shapes those beliefs?
It is in recognizing those questions that we can begin to replace our naturally prompted answers with a more biblically informed approach. Food for the Hungry (FH) walks with communities to ask the questions that help uncover skewed beliefs or cultural practices that have gone unquestioned for decades.
Kabesha Furahisha is a mother who received FH training that changed some of the cultural myths she previously held. “I was told that when I get pregnant, I should only eat very little so that I won’t have difficulty giving birth,” she said. The effect of the wrong advice is that she gave birth to an underweight baby, 3.3 pounds.


During my recent pregnancy, I learned from the mother leaders that I should eat the right foods, Kebesha said. That included a little protein, some carbohydrates and vitamins. “The teachings helped me a lot. This time, she gave birth to a 6.6 pound baby. “I really thank FH,” she said while proudly showing off her daughter.

Kabesha’s story is just one of many. Many countries build traditions into their culture that cause one gender to be favored over the other.

How does our own culture affect our beliefs and actions?

How can we change it?

About Charith Norvelle

I’m the girl that laughs at the “writers” who sit behind their Macs at a pretentious coffee shop trying to find inspiration... and then I laugh harder because I’m one of them. A coffee obsessed photographer, in love with God, people, and travel... but where I’m from, thats not original at all. Planted in Portland, Oregon growing in Phoenix, Arizona. I joined Food for the Hungry in 2008 because I love people. Photographing them, learning and sharing their stories and helping you to touch, taste, and smell their world... don’t worry... the smell's not that bad.

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