You must give serious consideration to dealing
with the local people. Do they have a primitive culture? Are they farmers,
fishermen, friendly people, or enemy? As a survivor, "cross-cultural
communication" can vary radically from area to area and from people to
people. It may mean interaction with people of an extremely primitive culture or
contact with people who have a relatively modem culture. A culture is identified
by standards of behavior that its members consider proper and acceptable but may
or may not conform to your idea of what is proper. No matter who these people
are, you can expect they will have laws, social and economic values, and
political and religious beliefs that may be radically different from yours.
Before deploying into your area of operations, study these different cultural
aspects. Prior study and preparation will help you make or avoid contact if you
have to deal with the local population.
People will be friendly, unfriendly, or they will
choose to ignore you. Their attitude may be unknown. If the people are known to
be friendly, try to keep them friendly through your courtesy and respect for
their religion, politics, social customs, habits, and all other aspects of their
culture. If the people are known to be enemies or are unknowns, make every
effort to avoid any contact and leave no sign of your presence. A basic
knowledge of the daily habits of the local people will be essential in this
attempt. If after careful observation you determine that an unknown people are
friendly, you may contact them if you absolutely need their help.
Usually, you have little to fear and much to gain
from cautious and respectful contact with local people of friendly or neutral
countries. If you become familiar with the local customs, display common
decency, and most important, show respect for their customs, you should be able
to avoid trouble and possibly gain needed help. To make contact, wait until only
one person is near and, if possible, let that person make the initial approach.
Most people will be willing to help a survivor who appears to be in need.
However, local political attitudes, instruction, or propaganda efforts may
change the attitudes of otherwise friendly people. Conversely, in unfriendly
countries, many people, especially in remote areas, may feel animosity toward
their politicians and may be more friendly toward a survivor.
The key to successful contact with local peoples
is to be friendly, courteous, and patient. Displaying fear, showing weapons, and
making sudden or threatening movements can cause a local person to fear you.
Such actions can prompt a hostile response. When attempting a contact, smile as
often as you can. Many local peoples are shy and seem unapproachable, or they
may ignore you. Approach them slowly and do not rush your contact.
Use salt, tobacco, silver money, and similar
items discreetly when trading with local people. Paper money is well-known
worldwide. Do not overpay; it may lead to embarrassment and even danger. Always
treat people with respect. Do not bully them or laugh at them.
Using sign language or acting out needs or
questions can be very effective. Many people are used to such language and
communicate using nonverbal sign language. Try to learn a few words and phrases
of the local language in and around your potential area of operations. Trying to
speak someone's language is one of the best ways to show respect for his
culture. Since English is widely used, some of the local people may understand a
few words of English.
Some areas may be taboo. They range from
religious or sacred places to diseased or danger areas. In some areas, certain
animals must not be killed. Learn the rules and follow them. Watch and learn as
much as possible. Such actions will help to strengthen relations and provide new
knowledge and skills that may be very important later. Seek advice on local
hazards and find out from friendly people where the hostile people are. Always
remember that people frequently insist that other peoples are hostile, simply
because they do not understand different cultures and distant peoples. The
people they can usually trust are their immediate neighbors--much the same as in
our own neighborhood.
Frequently, local people, like ourselves, will
suffer from contagious diseases. Build a separate shelter, if possible, and
avoid physical contact without giving the impression of doing so. Personally
prepare your food and drink, if you can do so without giving offense.
Frequently, the local people will accept the use of "personal or religious
custom" as an explanation for isolationist behavior.
Barter, or trading, is common in more primitive
societies. Hard coin is usually good, whether for its exchange value or as
jewelry or trinkets. In isolated areas, matches, tobacco, salt, razor blades,
empty containers, or cloth may be worth more than any form of money.
Be very cautious when touching people. Many
people consider "touching" taboo and such actions may be dangerous.
Avoid sexual contact.
Hospitality among some people is such a strong
cultural trait that they may seriously reduce their own supplies to feed a
stranger. Accept what they offer and share it equally with all present. Eat in
the same way they eat and, most important, try to eat all they offer.
If you make any promises, keep them. Respect
personal property and local customs and manners, even if they seem odd. Make
some kind of payment for food, supplies, and so forth. Respect privacy. Do not
enter a house unless invited.
In today's world of fast-paced international
politics, political attitudes and commitments within nations are subject to
rapid change. The population of many countries, especially politically hostile
countries, must not be considered friendly just because they do not demonstrate
open hostility. Unless briefed to the contrary; avoid all contact with such