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New West Bank and Gaza Interviews on CultureGrams

CultureGrams recently added three new faces to the Interviews collection. So far, CultureGrams features over 400 interviews that represent the perspectives and life experiences of people from all around the world. Interview responses are edited for clarity and comprehension but CultureGrams editors try to preserve the original voice and thoughts of the interviewees. They are a reflection of how those individuals see their lives and the countries and cultures they live in. Over the years interviewees have shared with us their happiest moments, greatest hopes, and their biggest challenges in life.

Here are just a few of those insights from our most recent additions:

Sami, age 17, Gaza City, Gaza

“As a citizen living in Gaza, which has been under siege for the last 10 years, my biggest worry is that I can’t travel abroad to study. I am a diligent student and I have the potential to achieve my dreams, but being restricted here in Gaza will be a barrier. Even if I finish my studies in Gaza, I will not be able to find work easily here. We are almost 2 million people in a closed area with limited resources. I am so worried about all the opportunities that could be available for guys my age but that we can’t access because we are in Gaza.”

 

Ahlam, age 37, Ramallah, West Bank

“Back then, girls’ education was a luxury in my town. My grandmother took her [my mother] out of school after she finished her fourth year. Despite that, my mother could read very well, but her writing skills were not as good as her reading skills. Gauging by her exceptional logical and mathematical intelligence, I always believed that my mother would have become a great scholar if she could have finished her schooling and gone to college. When I finished high school, my family’s financial situation was so fragile that my chance to start college could have been delayed. I remember how my mother was so eager and tried really hard to lend me money to register at college and did the same with the rest of my siblings. She made our education her priority. My parents even supported my sisters with their college expenses even after they got married.”

 

Mohamed, age 63, Gaza City, Gaza

“The most significant event was the marriage of my oldest son. I couldn’t expect how I’d feel as a father on that day. His wedding was outside Gaza, and because of the siege and the fact that we couldn’t leave Gaza easily, the marriage ceremony had been postponed several times, and then finally we decided to hold the ceremony even if we couldn’t attend. My oldest son would have been alone without any member of his family. That would have been tragic. But thanks to God, one week before the wedding, the Egyptian border was opened and I was able to cross after spending two days at the border. I attended the wedding with my daughter, as she works with the USAID organization and can be granted a permit to travel. My wife and the rest of the family joined us through online video streaming.”

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more interviews coming in 2018, which we will highlight here on the blog. Until then, discover more interviews from countries all over the world in the CultureGrams Interviews gallery!

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CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Tuvalu

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

Flag of Tuvalu, via CultureGrams

The new Tuvalu report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about Tuvalu:

  • Tuvalu (pronounced too-VAH-loo) means “eight standing together” in Tuvaluan. This refers to the nation’s eight traditionally inhabited atolls (ring-shaped reefs) and islands.
  • The only mammal native to Tuvalu is the Polynesian rat, though early settlers brought pigs, chickens, dogs, and cats with them. However, there are hundreds of species of fish and other marine creatures.
  • There are no rivers or streams in Tuvalu, since the islands are made up of coral gravel and sand. People must catch and store rainwater or desalinate (remove the salt from) ocean water.
  • Tuvalu owns the internet domain name .tv, which is a popular alternative to .com for companies worldwide.

Read about life as a kid in Tuvalu, traditional games, and the importance of family relationships, all in this colorful new report.

New Burkina Faso Photos and Slideshows Added!

We’ve recently added new media to our Burkina Faso country report, including more than 35 gallery photos and 5 new slideshows. Come have a look! CultureGrams has over 20,000 photos across its 209 country reports, in addition to hundreds of slideshows.

Burkinabè children stand next to a reservoir in Djibo. Image credit: Salym Fayad

A young boy poses for a picture in the northern town of Djibo. He wears a protective amulet around his neck known locally as a gris-gris. Image credit: Salym Fayad

Women pose at their street-food stall at a Sunday afternoon market in central Ouagadougou. Image credit: Salym Fayad

A Burkinabè girl stands for a portrait. Image credit: Salym Fayad

Young boys hold up a board with verses from the Qurʾan written on it. Young Islamic students memorize the Arabic verses by copying the sentences onto their boards. Image credit: Salym Fayad

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: American Samoa

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

Flag of American Samoa, via CultureGrams

The new American Samoa report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about American Samoa:

  • American Samoa is home to only three kinds of native land mammals, all of which are bats.
  • American Samoa is the southernmost territory of the United States.
  • American Samoa uses the U.S. Postal Service for mail delivery and is small enough to have just one zip code.
  • One of the traditional symbols of American Samoa is the fue (coconut fiber fly whisk) crossed with a to’oto’o (staff). The fue stands for wisdom, while the to’oto’o represents authority.

Read about life as a kid in American Samoa, traditional foods, and the role religion plays in American Samoan culture, all in this colorful new report.

CultureGrams: New Interviews for Afghanistan and Comoros!

Blue Mosque – Shrine of Hazrat Ali, by Lukaszcom, via Wikimedia Commons

We’ve recently added interviews from two Afghan women to the Afghanistan country report. Hear first-hand what life is like in Afghanistan for Farah and Zohal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve also added interviews to the Comoros report! Take a look at them to get a feel for life in different areas in the Comoros Islands among different age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds.Fatima, female, age 29

Patrice, male, age 43

Nourou, female, age 9

 

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Togo

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

Flag of Togo via CultureGrams

The new Togo report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about the Togo:

  • Togo is believed to have been named after a town on the shore of Lake Togo. The name comes from the Ewe words to (water) and go (shore).
  • Most homes in Togo do not have running water, so fetching water is a common daily chore for children.
  • Among the Ewe, babies are named after the day of the week they are born but are often given a personal first name as well.
  • To show respect, young people kneel when greeting an elder.

Read about the annual Evala festival, life as a kid, and traditional foods, all in this colorful new report.

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Mauritius

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

The new Mauritius report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about Mauritius:

  • The dodo—a flightless bird native to Mauritius—became extinct in the 17th century. The dodo only existed in Mauritius.
  • Mauritius Island is around 8 million years old, which is rather young in geological time.
  • Several different types of giant tortoise used to live in Mauritius but have now become extinct.
  • Mauritian ships are sometimes attacked by modern-day pirates in the Indian Ocean; Mauritius began holding court trials for pirates in 2013.

Read about Mauritian séga music and explore the fascinating history of Mauritius in this new report.

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Comoros

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

comoros-flag

Flag of Comoros via CultureGrams

The new Comoros report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about Comoros:

  • Comoros is one of the top two producers of vanilla in the world (second to Madagascar).
  • The name Comoros came from the Arabic word qamar, meaning “moon”
  • Arab slave traders used Comoros as a base for transporting African slaves as early as the 16th century.
  • Comoros has one of the largest populations of the coelacanth fish, once called a “living fossil” because it was thought to have become extinct more than 65 million years ago, until it was rediscovered in the 20th century.

Read about local Comorian games and sports, as well as musical instruments and styles, all in this colorful new report.

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