A Metaphor for Cultural Humility

Courtesy of Lucia Sarmiento Verano

Fondly remembering that time where I was visiting glorious Puno and I joined a group to go see Sillustani and Uros two different days. There was this older white Argentinian couple who mentioned they had flown directly from home to Puno which sits almost at 4000m altitude.

I asked if they had to take time to adapt and told them to be careful with effort. They laughed at my face: “We’re from Mendoza! We’re used to altitude!” almost sneering at me having to carefully adapt. I decided not to say anything.

The next day they were nowhere to be seen. Guide told me they were bedridden with oxygen because they hadn’t been careful and exerted themselves and ate too much. “But THEY’RE FROM MENDOZA!” I said. We laughed. Don’t think your body stronger than mother nature.

In case you didn’t know Mendoza is at less than 800m altitude.

What did you feel when you read this? How and why does it relate to racio-cultural humility, power & privilege?

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