Advice for Blake

Last week the class reviewing the discussion we had with Professor Kennison and Professor Muench a few weeks ago about voluntourism. The group discussed ways to better prepare students traveling to foreign countries for the first time and how to approach cultural differences. One way we thought to address this concern was by exposing students to some culture values and norms before going to a foreign country. In Dr. Hennison’s Global Sevice Learning in Haiti program, I learned that they have many preliminary meetings where students are taught specific culture differences and norms. The classes eventually help students immerse themselves within the society when they arrive in Haiti. I believe that researching and learning culture variances is crucial before visiting a different country, but it is impossible to absorb all of that information before being directly exposed to that culture yourself. So, in addition to researching social values and norms of a country, it is also crucial to be adaptive and responsive to change while experiencing these different cultures. This could be as simple as learning that a hand gesture is offensive and deciding to change your behavior by eliminating it from your actions while visiting that society.


Blake, from Clay’s Ark, could have benefited from this advice and stayed alive if he chose to be adaptive and responsive to change. Since Blake did not have a chance to learn about the virus that Eli and his people presented with prior to being kidnapped, he would have had to resort to being flexible and adaptive to change. However, Blake was guilty of being close minded to what the enclave had to say about this disease, especially when Meda attempted to explain why they cannot rush to a hospital, “I’ll do anything to keep my sons from being taken from me.” “Nobody would take your- “… “So if you’re afraid of an epidemic, Doctor, don’t even think about leaving us. Even if you spread the word, you can’t possibly stop us” (Butler 501). Blake already had his mind set and refused to accept that there was no cure to the disease. His inability to actively listen to Meda’s advice led to his attempted escape and the death of Blake and Rane, along with disruption to society as a whole since the disease spread across the world.

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