Acclimated to Africa
*African Friends and Money Matters* by David Maranz articulates critical differences in African and Western concepts of money management. With notes on etiquette in transactions, bribes/tips, and donor/patron dynamics, this book is a must-read for Westerners working with Africans. Written by a missionary anthropologist, the book draws heavily on his several decades of personal experience in West Africa.
*Cross-Cultural Partnerships: Navigating the Complexities of Money and Mission* by Mary T. Lederleitner. The author illustrates how cultural differences can cause tension when Western people get financially involved with other parts of the world. She thoroughly examines the dynamics between donors and recipients and identifies common points of conflict. Gracious and concerned for the dignity of all involved, Lederleitner offers insights for working through these challenges in a way that maximizes the potential of a cross cultural partnership. I highly recommend this book for churches and families who hope to partner financially with African friends.
*What is not Sacred?* by Professor Laurenti Magesa. This text describes African spirituality and emphasizes its contribution to inter-religious dialogue today. The African worldview is anchored by a deep respect for the sacred. This awareness is played out in countless ways, both large and small, in social interactions. This book helps foreigners to recognize moral behavior even when it is dressed very differently than we would expect.
*The Art of Crossing Cultures* by Craig Storti. This book focuses on attitudes and skills for crossing cultures graciously. Storti does a great job of bringing to light ways Westerners might offend our hosts (and ways they may offend us). Packed with practical insights, the style is humorous and light. I use this book with new team members as part of their on-field orientation.
*Cross-Cultural Conflict: Building Relationships for Effective Ministry* by Duane Elmer. Focused on the management of cross-cultural conflict, this resource helps readers to move beyond their good intentions, intentions with are easily lost or misunderstood in the interface between cultures. I especially appreciate his treatment of the role of honor and shame in conflict – a significant component of conflict in most majority-world cultures.
*Cultural Intelligence: A Guide to Working with People from Other Cultures* by Brooks Peterson. This book helps the reader think through key differences between cultures, such as direct vs indirect communication, individual vs community orientation, and high-power distance vs low-power distance. As we understand more about our own style, we are better equipped to adapt to the style of another person or culture.
*Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold-Climate Cultures* by Sarah Lanier. This is a short and easy-to-read little book articulates the basic differences between “hot-climate” and “cold-climate” cultures around the world. It’s ideal for people who are engaging cross-culturally for the first time, including youth.
*Leading with Cultural Intelligence* by David Livermore. This book looks at the core of culturally competent leadership, applicable to any context. Livermore presents a four-step model for becoming an adept leader anywhere around the world. With current research, case studies, and statistics, this book will help you develop and leverage your cultural competence. It is an ideal step deeper into the material from this chapter.
*So You’re Going Overseas: A Handbook for Personal and Professional Success* by Stewart Black and Hal Gregersten. This book is a pre-departure guide to moving abroad with your job. One chapter discusses cultural competence, and the others cover logistics, such as financial implications, adjustments, and considerations for the family.
*African Religion: The Moral Traditions of Abundant Life* by Laurenti Magesa articulates a traditional African understanding of the key components of spirituality, including Vital Force, mystical powers and practitioners, and the role of life events in attaining full humanity. This book is important for Westerners because Magesa, writing from inside the uniquely African construct of spirituality, articulates spirituality with images and language that Westerners can understand.
*Cross Cultural Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting In Around the World* by Duane Elmer. Cross-cultural specialist Duane Elmer identifies the basic skills required for successful of cross-cultural work. He emphasizes building strong relationships through increased awareness, skills, and appropriate attitudes. Elmer’s personal experience in Africa makes this more general resource particularly relevant to people working among Africans.