I am in an unfamiliar place.
I do not speak the language, nor know the local customs.
I do not feel well.
I approach a woman nearby.
“Excuse me, please,” I say. “I don’t mean to bother you, but I have a stomach ache. Can you help me?”
She puts her finger to her lips and shakes her head. I try to figure out why. Maybe it’s not an okay time to talk. Maybe she understands my words differently than I intend them. Maybe she thinks I just told her to put her head where the sun don’t shine. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that I haven’t communicated the way that I was supposed to.
What I don’t know is that, in this culture, it is not considered acceptable for outsiders to approach villagers. It’s just not done.
My stomach really hurts. I need help. So I try again.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” I…
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