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Review material you already have gained about products obtained through agriculture, gathering, hunting, fishing, crafts, etc.

How do goods from another area arrive in your village or town–by truck, by plane, by bicycle, etc.? How are goods and produce from your area transported to market? Is this done by the producer or by a middleman?

Which of these are sold or traded to other villagers or neighborhood residents? Which and what amounts are sold or traded outside the area? To those of the same ethnic group or to those of a different group? Are the products sold directly to consumers or sold to middlemen?

Which items come from other villagers and which from outsiders? Do traders bring wares to the neighborhood, or do people make their purchases in town?

Chart out the economic relationships existing between your village or town and:

(1)    traders – who are they and what do they buy or sell?

(2)    other villages and towns in the area – does another town have goods that are not available in yours? How far does one have to travel to the next town or city?

(3)    a major city – is transport readily available? Is the trip a hassle or a fun occasion? Is it for the purpose of selling or buying? Is the trip usually successful?

(4)    international export – are products manufactured or grown in your area sold internationally? Are products from another country readily available where you live? Are such products desired by the local people?

What range of prices would various types of items be sold for? What has been the rate of inflation over the past two years? Have wages kept up with the cost of living?

How are business transactions conducted? Is there a sex differentiation in terms of commerce or services rendered?

Are items sold or bought for cash or credit? Who are the moneylenders? What are the terms of such a loan (time, interest rate, guarantee, etc.)? Are there pawn shops? What is the rate of indebtedness in the village? What happens when debts are not or cannot be repaid?

From whom can one borrow tools or articles? Is an item returned to the owner or must he go for it when he needs it?

Do people hire themselves out for wages? In the village? Outside the village? Is there a steady migration of people from rural areas into town seeking work? From what areas or ethnic groups do they come? What kind of work, if any, can they obtain?

Are outsiders hired by villagers? To which ethnic groups do they belong, what work do they do, and what are they paid?


What trees are valued for their wood? How are they felled and brought in? Are the trees private property, or are the forests owned by the government? By a company? Or is all wood imported into the country?

What are different types of wood used for (e.g., charcoal, firewood, boards, house posts, shingles, carving, furniture, handles for tools). From where is the wood collected or bought? Is firewood augmented with dung or some other substance? Why?

Are houses made of wood, stone, or brick? What type of wood is used in house construction and how is it prepared? Is stone readily available? How and from where is it quarried? Are bricks made locally? What is the status of brick makers? bricklayers? carpenters? stone quarriers? Are these respected professions?

Are wooden objects considered more valuable than those made of other materials, as metal or plastic? What other objects are made of stone? Are these sold or bartered? Are these mainly decorative pieces or do they have utilitarian use as well?

Is bamboo available in your area? If so, are there different types with different uses? Where is it harvested or is it only available commercially? How is the bamboo cut and processed for use?

Investigate and talk about some of the following processes: making charcoal, sawing timber, splitting boards, brickmaking, preparation of stone, etc.

What objects are made of plastic? Are these made within the country, or are they imported? Is there provision for recycling of plastic items?


Do people own their homes or apartments? or are they renters? What is their responsibility to the owner? and the owner’s responsibility to them? How and when is the rent paid? What type of rental contract is drawn up? Does this need to be renewed after a certain period of time?

When a person moves into a house or apartment, what is furnished in the line of appliances or furniture? Where are such items available, and do they remain the property of the buyer when the property is vacated?

How are breach of contracts settled? How much notice needs to be given for an owner to ask a renter to move? or for the renter to tell the owner he is vacating? Is this always followed? What are the obligations of the one vacating and returning the property to the owner, as cleaning, repairing, etc.

How do people use the land around their dwelling? Is there room for a garden? If so, are flowers or vegetables planted? Is some of the space occupied by animals or chickens?

Are there restrictions as to how the space can be used? or how the dwelling can be decorated (paint, flower boxes, etc.) Is there a patio? What activities happen there?

Is there a space for storage of items like bicycles, children’s toys, lawn mowers, etc.? What arrangement is there for hanging laundry out to dry?


What is your reaction to local music? Is it similar, or very different from, music you are used to? Does it sound sad or happy (in a minor or major key)?

What role does musical expression play in the life of the people (from relaxation to religious)? Do you hear music played on the street? in buses? in homes? Are there stores where CDs, DVDs, cassettes of music can be bought? How prevalent is it for people to have players in their homes?

What kind of instruments are played? Do people prefer local instruments or western ones? Describe one or two musical instruments which you have never seen before, including how it is made, how it is played, when it is played, and if it has any specific significance in the culture. Do only certain people play these instruments? When?

Do people mostly listen to or sing local songs or do they prefer songs from the dominant culture or from the west? Is the singing done primarily in unison, or do they harmonize? What types of songs are there? Who writes them? When and by whom are they sung? Which singers, bands, or instrumentalists hold concerts and are famous enough to have a following? What made them famous? What topics are sung about?

Transcribe and translate the words of some song texts.

What tunes are used for hymns in worship services? Are the hymns translations of western ones, or are they written locally? Are new songs and hymns being written? How do new songs spread throughout congregations around the country?

Is dancing a part of the culture? When and where is it done? Who dances? Is this participatory or is it only watched by others? Is dancing accompanied by singing? Are musical instruments used? Are they used by the dancers themselves? What other special effects accompany dancing (e.g., trays, long fingernails, scarves)?

Do both men and women dance? Do they dance together? What social or religious significance is attached to dancing? Are special costumes worn? What emotional states are produced in the dancers?

Are there any dramatic performances? Where are they performed? Are they performed by professionals, amateur groups, religious groups, school children? Are religious events dramatized? Could drama be the vehicle for portraying Old and New Testament events?

Do local dramas relate to events of historical, mythical, or ritual significance, or both? Note the place, date, and occasion of the performance; the subject of the performance and the reasons given for its selection. Also take note of the performers: their age, gender, status in society, dress, etc. What meaning is conveyed by gestures? Does music or dancing accompany a performance? What is the effect of the performance upon the audience (e.g., enjoyment, affirmation of ethnic identity).

Describe an actual performance, the audience’s response, and your reactions to it.


Dictionary definition: Arts and Crafts: the creative design of everyday objects

What creative objects and decorations have you observed? How are they used? What value do they seem to have (are they in a place of honor? worn on special occasions)? Who makes them? Are they made at certain times of the year? Are certain crafts associated with ritual practices? Are any crafts gender specific? Do any crafters cross the gender expectation and what do local people think of these people.

What decorative (as opposed to utilitarian) features are used in crafts to make them more attractive? What standards of beauty are there and how does this affect the value of the article? What artistic expressions are found? Are there patterns which are followed or is there room for free expression? Do these appear in special objects or at special occasions (e.g. house decoration, pottery, carving)?

Are the materials for these crafts available locally? If not, how are they obtained?

How are children taught various crafts? At what ages?

Is the activity necessary in order to have the item? or can the item be bought commercially as well? Are formerly hand-made items no longer made because of their availability commercially? What motivates a person to make an item by hand? Which items are more valued– those made commercially, or those made by hand?

Which crafts bring in supplementary income? Is the income pooled with other family funds or does it remain personal property?


What do you see out your front door?
A road? Fields? Mountains? Another house?
Does your house have a front yard? What is it like?

Take a walk around your neighborhood

Is your neighborhood residential? commercial? a combination of the two?
How would you describe the types of buildings? Apartment buildings, homes, store fronts?
Does any particular building seem to stand out? If so, why?
How far do you have to walk to the market? to church? to the next door neighbor’s house?
Are there trees, flowers along the street? in peoples’ yards?
Do you have to walk on the street? or is there a walkway of some kind?
Are others outside walking? Are there animals around? Are children playing outside?
Note activities which are performed and who is doing them. Note the time when you make these observations.

When you return home:

Make a rudimentary map of your neighborhood and label the buildings and streets as far as you can. You will continue to build on this in the following assignments.

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