Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ignorance is No Excuse for lack of Cross-Cultural Mission Training

Haitian Judge Bernard Saint Vil made his recommendation a day after questioning the detained Americans, most from an Idaho Baptist group, were charged last week with child kidnapping and criminal association after being arrested Jan. 29 while trying to take 33 children, ages 2 to 12, across the border to an orphanage they were trying to set up in the Dominican Republic.
Group leader Laura Silsby of Meridian, Idaho, explained that the children were obtained either from orphanages or from distant relatives. She said only children who were found not to have living parents or relatives who could care for them might be put up for adoption. However, at least 20 of the children are from a single village and have living parents. Some of the parents explained that they willingly turned over their children to the missionaries on the promise the Americans would educate them and let relatives visit.
This incident would have been less likely to occur had this group been properly trained prior to stepping their foot onto a plane and flying to Haiti. Church missions groups have hearts of gold and good intentions, but cross-cultural training is needed prior to engaging in humanitarian relief in other countries. Upon arrival, the group needed to have been once again briefed on acceptable practice. This group is in jail because left to their own devices Americans will always sidestep what they view as 'red tape' or 'hassle'. In many countries avoiding proper parctice is against the law--apparently in Haiti it an offense serious enough for jail time.

John Mayer's Playboy Interview...A Lesson in Getting Too Comfortable

John, John, John! What were you thinking, John? Did you forget the first rule of dealing with reporters? The rule that states that anything you say can and will be held against you in a publication? Did you forget you held a 'trump' card that's called 'off the record'?
John, I like you, John. So I'm gonna try to explain this as gently as possible using this example: Just because you stand in a garage doesn't make you a car; and just because you love Jazz and the Blues doen't give you license to use the N-word in an interview to be published in an international publication. Again I ask, what were you thinkn?
Because I like your music so much I find it hard to absorb some of the info you gave during the interview--namely describing the sexual prowess of your ex-lovers. At the time it may have seemed like a great idea discussing them as though they were simply sex toys and as though they were not daughters and sisters and nieces and cousins. Did you forget about how their families may have felt about this info leaking out? Did you consider how this could embarrass your own family?
John, John, John--You definitely need to go back to media training and next time you feel like u want to be cozy and familiar with a journalist--make sure it's one that you have alerted that some comments are "off the record". And for goodness sake, stay alert and don't get too comfortable. haven't you heard that "loose lips sink ships?"