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Culture Crossing’s Weekly Feature Interview Back

John Heminway is an Emmy award winning writer, filmmaker and television host. This week John tells us of his harrowing yet ultimately enlightening experience off the coast of Somalia.

Name: John Heminway
Nationality: American
Profession: Writer, film producer
Passion(s): Africa, travel

Name a country where you’ve experienced cultural differences: Somalia

Describe one of those experiences: While sailing down the coast out of Aden, we stopped for supplies at a place called Itala. The local authorities accused us of being spies so we were put under arrest and confined for two days to the earthen floor in grass-roofed huts, while government officials were summoned to cross examine us.

What did you learn about your own culture from that experience? That Americans are, to some cultures, objects of intense suspicion. That we need to market ourselves better than we do, that our excess, often incomprehensible to others, is an embarrassment and that we should learn to live on less. I also discovered that a diet of grapefruit over two day is not a bad thing.

If you were going to adopt a custom, gesture, or trait from another culture,
what would it be?
To laugh uncontrollably after an accident.

Where would you like your next culture crossing adventure to take you? Afghanistan

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