In a distant country, far west, there lived a couple. They were high school sweethearts, but they had been married for ten years and had no child. They decided to adopt and applied to the adoption agency of the state. They were invited to begin the procedures for adoption and when it was time to select a baby, the child they chose was not from the west, indeed, it was a baby from the south. The one-year-old girl ever so pretty had a very faint mark on the bridge of her nose similar to the tribal markings of the southerners, it looked like they wanted a faint indication of where she came from. They were slightly worried as to how she would turn out, as you see, the western part of that country had been having a feud with the southerners. This bad blood began about a hundred years ago and no one remembered the cause.
They went home worried and discussed with their relatives about the wisdom in adopting a child from the south. Their relatives were so adamant against it, “she would be as unreasonable as her people”, “she would grow to hate us”, “she would have their backstabbing nature”, “the worst part is that she would have their accent and be a constant reminder of where she came from.” They were very distraught; when they looked on that child they had a special affection for her. They knew she was just the right child for them, “dear Lord, why did you have us love a child from the south?”
Fifteen years later, Their daughter does not only have a heavy western accent; she also looked western. How could this be? She grew to be one of our people; she doesn’t hate us as they predicted, she is not unreasonable, instead, she is very kind and very smart. As of now, the mark on the bridge of her nose was so faint, it was bearly noticeable. She was the perfect child. Their only wish is that other children stop telling her she is an outcast, they were making life hard for her.
One day, their daughter went missing. She was kidnapped from school, but no one called for ransom. Investigations were carried out and it was found that natives of the south heard there was a daughter of theirs living in the west and they took her away. “We told you she would backstab us”, “Those people are not to be trusted.” The gossip was harder to handle than their missing daughter, she was not like that, they were so sure, she loved them. They decided to go to the south to negotiate with them.
“That is a very foolish decision, to be frank with you”, “They would kill you both”, “That girl was sent here as a spy, she has been communicating with them all along.” No one saw reason with them, instead the gossip became more outrageous. They couldn’t lose their daughter of 15 years without a fight; they owed her that at least. They would go to them and negotiate and beg them to return their daughter to them.
They got to the south and instead of the hostile welcome they expected, they met worried people. They were taken directly to the house of their Chief, there were a lot of murmurings and troubled expressions. Apparently, their daughter had refused to eat anything for the past week; she kept asking for her parents. The people of the south were sure that they had cast a spell on her, why was she so much like a westerner when she was south by blood. They pled with her adoptive parents to release her from the spell, so she would be like one of them again.
After several hours of arguing and yielding no result, they decided to call the girl in and ask her what she wanted. She asked why they fought and why they hated each other, she asked why she had to choose, she said she wasn’t going to take sides. She told her parents that she didn’t embrace the culture of the westerners nor that of the southerners, but she embraced the culture of their family, the one of love and kindness, the one that made them raise an outcast as a child. She told them having the blood of the south didn’t make her a southerner and having the accent of the west didn’t make her a westerner. Her belief system was her culture, being a person of love, of kindness was her culture. She was going to love both the westerners and the southerners, she wasn’t going to pick one over the other because her belief system didn’t pick sides.
Welcome to the culture series dear readers, we would be looking into what culture you choose to learn. Because culture is an acquired belief system, what you choose to go by and what you decide to become. Your culture determines your friends; it determines your job; it determines everything about your life.