Living in Africa is not easy to imagine for those who have never lived here.  I cannot imagine living in China or even Italy, since I have never been there.  Yes, we know some things are the same – everyone eats and drinks and sleeps, but the “rules” are different.  Every culture has rules – known by the people of that culture but not written down or even always explainable to someone on the outside.  In the USA, one would never ask someone – especially not a stranger – for their shirt or toy.  That is one of our rules.   We do not pick our nose in public, another rule; we do not openly stare at others, there are more rules than we can even imagine.  Some are hard to define – what is the appropriate distance to keep between to people?  I can’t even guess a number, but I can tell you exactly when you have stepped too close if you stand near to me.  These things seem rather obvious – but none of these are rules here in Eastern Africa.  No, their rules are different.  In Burundi one should never receive a gift or greet someone with the left hand.  When someone comes to the door you must invite them in and offer tea – even if you are already busy.  Hospitality is very important.  Valuing people more than tasks is essential; honoring status and respecting class levels.  So many things to learn.  Judging these rules helps no one.  Someone might say, “Really, Americans, is picking ones nose in public such a offensive thing?  You may publicly cough, sneeze, or even stick your finger in your ear.  Can’t we just stop making a big deal over this?”  The answer?  No, we cannot just have a discussion and change it.  It is what it is.  Period.  As we learn new rules in a new culture we may spend much energy questioning it or even complaining about it.  But it is what it is.  Period.  It is best to learn it and accept it.  Always ensuring that every action is honoring to God.  Do I want to stop my daily rhythm to entertain an uninvited guest?  No, not really.  Is it God honoring?  Much more so than my instinctual reaction.  My prayer is that each day I will humbly learn this culture and grow in Christ – to be more conformed to His will and His way.