Cultural Competence

By description, cultural competence entails understanding and responding appropriately to the exceptional combination of cultural diversities. Every community or religion has its own unique culture that distinguishes it from others. Interestingly, the cultural dictates are subject to inheritance by the successive generations; hence, continuity.

In the interest of cultural exploration, I went out to attend a traditional male circumcision ceremony of the Gullah people in Carolina. It still embraces ancestral culture since time immemorial. Before attending the ceremony, I have to picture myself and future happenings. The challenges that might come my way include language barrier, possible hostility, and rough terrain. The language barrier is a problem, mainly when associating with communities that speak its mother tongue. Therefore, I will have to look for a translator to aid in understanding and communication. It is such a hard task. Being a hostile community, there might be life-threatening circumstances. For instance, some members of the population will not feel comfortable having a stranger around them. Also, the community is on a hilly and rocky location. Being a new experience, feeling nervous is inevitable. I am entirely unfamiliar with some of the cultural practices, contributing to nervousness. I heard, from a friend, that they slaughter bulls make the attendants take fresh blood; something that I have never experienced before.

I feel uncomfortable associating with strange faces. Moreover, the cultural attire worn during the ceremony is even impacting more discomfort. The outfit involves putting on hides and skin instead of regular clothing. It is such a scary dressing. I am looking forward to establishing the unique culture of the Gullah people, and knowing why they chose to cling on their culture despite the ever-evolving world. Evaluating the loopholes of customs is another concern. Also, I want to know the repercussions involved in defying the culture. I think I will be submissive to show togetherness and acceptance in undertaking the customs of the community. It will show my preparedness and commitment to learn more about them. However, little resistance might occur, especially the segment that involves consuming raw blood. Ideally, it is normal to resist a new culture you have never been exposed.

Here is the postmortem of the events that occurred. The activity was a traditional male circumcision ceremony. The fact that it is a crucial initiation process, among the Gullah, influenced the choice. The community upholds it because it depicts true courage and manhood. Also, being an academic adventure, I chose the activity because this is the period when the Gullah community displays a typical cultural diversity than any other ceremony. The event entails removal of the foreskin at dawn, followed by various cultural displays by the elders. A bull is slaughtered, and every candidate is made to consume the oozing fresh blood directly from the bull’s veins. The candidates are then treated to a traditional dance ceremony followed, shortly, by nursing of the wounds using herbal medicine. Notably, the circumcised candidates are left in seclusion, on the river bank, for three days consecutively. Three days means three frightening nights. The candidates get exposed to plotted attacks by the elders to test their courage as “real men” who can protect the community at times of danger.

Post experience mindset was marred with mixed positivity and doubts. I remained positive and embraced their activities without feeling negative about any process. Also, I doubted the sterility of the process. There was a mixed reaction of joy and fear. The fear came in when I saw the candidates facing the knife and bleeding profusely after circumcision. Joy followed the fact that they became incorporated into the real men bracket. At first, I thought that they would use a sterilized surgical scalpel for each candidate. To my surprise, they use a sharp traditional knife for all the candidates. However, the knife is sterilized in boiling water for hygiene purposes. Also, I thought they would conduct the process with utmost caution to the environment. I got perplexed when youths were getting circumcised inside the river, and the blood made to flood the river downstream. What came to my mind is the blatant pollution of the water source that would endanger lives. My worst panic came when I was called upon to take the raw blood. I could not tolerate the pain inflicted on the bull alongside blood splashing on my face. However, I portrayed real bravery and accepted the challenge.

With interest I have in understanding various cultures, I would love to repeat the process over and again. Also, it was an exciting feeling having been incorporated into the community during my study process. It was delightful to see the rich cultural display by the community. The uniqueness of the customs would drive someone to attend more of such events.

In conclusion, I learned about how traditional cultures are essential. For instance, they give the community the uniqueness that easily distinguishes it from others. It is a show of respect to the ancestors by the successive generations. Interestingly, I was meant to understand that the community has various cultural festivals for specific targets. For instance, they hold a festival to request the ancestors for rain. Cultural events blend the community since people from different parts attend the gatherings. Moreover, I got to learn the effective pharmacology of traditional medicine. However, some cultures are quite risky with regards to the dictates of humanity in the 21st century. Concerning health, I learned that the circumcision process has loopholes. For example, it poses a question on disease transmission and hygiene. The sterilization process is not point-accurate in eradicating the pathogens; hence, may contribute to the Sexually Transmitted Infections. Also, it is hurting how the culture contributes to significant pollution of the water source. They activity pollutes the river which is the primary water source for the occupants.