Sensitivity and travel

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It takes a lot to keep folks happy when they come from a wide range of backgrounds and they travel together. The “one size fits all” approach is likely to bring up resentful feelings.

On one occasion, I arrived with a group of performers in a city that has wonderful restaurants and cuisine. Trying to move together in a pack was deeply unsatisfying. Some of the guys were very keen on going to a pizzeria. I have nothing against pizza, but it is not one of my favourite types of food.

As it happened, there was one other black person in the group. He hadn’t been privy to the conversation. When he joined us from his hotel room and the idea of having pizza was mentioned, his immediate reaction was: “pizza is….”  (a four letter word).

I have seen similar things happening when Africans from one region assume that folks from another region would be happy to eat the food of their localities.

We can either use moments of this sort to learn more about each other, or they can become flashpoints for misunderstandings and conflict.