Cultural Identity

One of the most difficult challenges that each of the Lost Boys faced during their first few months in the United States was retaining their culture and tradition from their homeland. They still did their own observation regarding the culture facing them – in a totally whole new world that is different from what they have gotten used to when they were in the refugee camp in Kenya or even when they were still in Sudan.

A first observation they’ve made is how unfriendly the Americans were. People in their local neighborhood, or even when they get to work barely make any smile or say a ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ to them or their neighbors. They compare it to their lives in Kenya, wherein everyone was very close and how everyone greeted and smiled at each other. They’ve observed that even if they were Americans, they were acting like strangers with each other.

Another observation they’ve picked up is how everything is made ready for them. When they were guided in the supermarket, they asked so many questions on what the things were displayed, especially those that they were not familiar of, like the bread, wherein it was made out of flour, and the donut, in which they were given one to give it a taste.

They also love to eat with their bare hands. In Sudan and Kenya, especially in the refugee camp, they have gotten used to eating with their bare hands. The Lost Boys shared that it is part of their culture and tradition to do so. Forgetting about it is like losing an identity and they don’t want that. They shared how they were laughed about eating with their bare hands, but they just understood and accepted that the society they’re living in just think differently.

One thing that they were concerned about is how when they go to supermarkets or stores in groups, the people there feel intimidated by their presence. They were then asked the people who know them that if ever they go out, they have to make sure that they go alone or in fewer numbers since the Americans see it differently. What struck John so much about this outlook is how Americans are so detached from each other. He then shared how the community in Kenya would freely go to each other’s houses without worries. They’d feel welcome in a stranger’s house and even asked whether or not they are lost or want to have a chat. In America, a police are called because they just barged into a stranger’s house. For the Lost Boys, the culture that they grew up with is about family and being caring about each other. The older children were taught to take care of the young. Instead of feeling sad for themselves about such a culture in America, they feel sad for the Americans instead because they cannot be together so much when they are just living on the same land.

If you watch the film from start to finish, you will be amazed of the discovery of someone who doesn’t have any idea regarding a totally different culture from theirs and how important it is to never forget where you came from.

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