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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?


This assignment explores proper etiquette for the giving and acceptance of gifts.

To whom would a person give a gift: relative, friend, neighbor, trading partner, headman, government official, etc.? On what occasion would a gift be given? Are these occasions determined by the calendar [as birthdays] or by the course of events [as encouragement for good work done]? What is the motive for giving: love, concluding a business deal, influencing a decision, building up goodwill, etc.?

What types of gifts are appropriate for various occasions? What kinds of gifts are given in exchange? How long a delay between the receiving and the giving of a return gift is within the limits of appropriate behavior? Is the gift related to the status of giver or recipient? In what ways? Be careful to distinguish between a true gift and payment for services rendered, especially when the latter had been delayed.

How does one acknowledge the receipt of a gift? When is it proper to open a gift? On receiving it? Later, when the giver has departed?

How much sharing of excess farm or garden produce is done in the village? What is said when giving and receiving something? Is an equivalent exchange expected?


Why do people hunt? What proportion of the food supply is obtained through hunting? How is the meat or bones divided? What is done with the hide?

What weapons and what methods (e.g., tracking, lying in ambush) are used in hunting? Are baits or decoys used? Traps? Is hunting an individual or group activity? Who participates in the hunt? Are there any restrictions (e.g., abstinence from sex or certain foods) on individuals before a hunt? Is there a particular territory within which a person or village may hunt?

Which animals are hunted? Is hunting a regular or intermittent activity? Is any type of game conservation practiced? Is this locally monitored or regulated by an outside agency?

Which birds are considered edible? How are they hunted? Are the eggs of any birds collected and eaten?

Do some make their livelihood by fishing? Are fish caught for home consumption alone or are some sold or bartered?

Describe all methods of fishing and sketch or photograph nets, traps, and other fishing equipment. Is fishing done from a boat or from the shoreline? What bait is used?

Is fishing done by both men and women? Are some methods used more by one than the other?

If possible, go fishing with some of your new friends. Have someone tell you about their fishing experience. Do they tell tall tales about the “one that got away?”


Does your village, town, or city have a “downtown” area, that is, a main shopping center? Or are there big shopping centers scattered throughout? How far is it from where you live to one of these centers?

Is going to the mall or to a downtown area a special occasion? Do people dress more formally when they go? Do they go here for special reasons, like business or events, or do they sometimes go just to have a good time?

Are the shops under one roof? Situated on a main plaza? Located on a jumble of interconnected streets?

What kinds of shops are located in the center you have chosen? Are the same types of shops found in other centers, or does each center have a “specialty?” Is there more variety found downtown than in local shops?

Are any of these connected to a Western franchise? If so, how familiar does it look to you, and how much has been added in deference to the culture? Are the products of these international shops considered more prestigious than local items?

Are larger shops more frequented than the smaller neighborhood shops? How has the local economy been affected by the arrival of megashops?

Are there special venues for events located downtown, like the opera, musical programs, or plays? Would businesses have special events for their staff at downtown sites rather than at a local venue?


How is time kept track of in the city, town, neighborhood, family, by an individual? Is there a town clock? Do offices, public buildings, and homes have clocks? Do men and women wear watches? Do children have watches? At what age are they taught how to tell time?

Is it important to be on time for business meetings? for social functions? for church? What is the meaning of “on time” for such events? Does it make a difference if the event is Western oriented or locally run? Are there certain events when time is of importance?

Do offices, businesses, government departments (post office, passport office, etc.), stores have regular hours they are open?

Is the Western calendar followed? Is another type of calendar also followed for religious purposes? for agricultural purposes? What seasons are acknowledged (in comparison to the Western concept of “four seasons”)? Why are these differentiations made? Is timing calculated differently for these seasonal changes? Is daylight savings time observed?



How far is the next town or village from yours? How far is it to the nearest large commercial center?

Get to a main crossroads area of your neighborhood

Describe the type of buildings: height, size, type of roofing, building material, windows, decorative features.
Where are main buildings located? post office? government buildings? banks? schools?
Is there a central plaza or green area? Are there green areas throughout the town? If so, what plants or trees are there? How do people seem to use these areas?

What kind of transport seems to be available?

How do people get to your town? Location of train or bus stations, airport, car parking
How do people get around town? bus service, taxis, private car, walking, bicycles? Are there street signs? Other directional signs? In which language(s) are they written?

Note the location of major and minor roadways, of walkways, of possible shortcuts

When you return home:

Add any new information to your map


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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