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Family Support
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West Africans are exceedingly gregarious. They do everything in large groups, whether it's eating, sleeping, relieving themselves (in bushes or open fields) or performing daily chores. It's very unusual to see an individual walking alone. Accordingly, the family unit has very tight bonds by Western standards. Brothers and sisters often act as fathers and mothers to their younger siblings. In spite of this closeness, jealousy is rampant and emotions run very high if one person is treated differently from the others, or has something the others don't. All things are shared by everyone, and attempts to own something personally will result in the object being stolen or destroyed.

A peace corps volunteer who works here relates a story about how she planted her own flowers around her corner of the house where she stayed, and after returning home one day, found that they'd all been pulled up and thrown out, only because she had something the others didn't. Here, the society is the great equalizer; only the village elders and chiefs are immune from jealousy. Yet, despite these high emotions and conflicts, resolution and resumption of mutual affection quickly follow in a manner that would leave Westerners confused. In West Africa, there is no such thing as a grudge.

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Country-Primary Location Name: Africa
Credit: Dan Heller
Object Name: shoulder-kid.jpg
By-line: Dan Heller
Copyright Notice: Photo (c) www.danheller.com
Keywords: shoulder, kid, montage, africa
Location: Africa
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Keywords: kid, vertical, shoulders, montage, africa