The Macksey Journal


In 2019 the East African nation of Mozambique, currently ranked as having one of the lowest GDPs per capita in the world, suffered the impact of two devastating cyclones in as many months. In response to the damage inflicted, various international humanitarian teams directed their efforts to distribute emergency aid throughout the country, including in remote island and inland communities along the coast. This paper explores the effect of cross-cultural interactions on the distribution of aid within these rural communities via the lenses of Cultural Anthropology and theories of cross-cultural communications. Through a brief case study of the interactions between primarily international aid workers and the local recipients of aid, we can examine the influence of differences in culture, race, and class status on communication during the distribution of aid in a post-colonial nation. The insight for this topic comes from both scholarly sources, such as anthropologist Clifford Geertz, as well as anecdotal insights from primary sources, including my own reflections on personal experiences as an aid worker in Mozambique. This paper suggests ways in which inherited values, conceptions, and internalized histories may form barriers to communication and asks in what ways, if any, these barriers impacted the effective distribution of emergency aid in rural Mozambique.