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Just Do It – Cultural Boundaries or Confusion

I want big shoes!

I want big shoes!

Do you have the patience of a saint?  Are you able to talk and talk to a young child so they understand how their actions impact others? Can you sit and listen to long medical explanations and not get lost?

Sometimes we are very good at some things and terrible at others.

It is easy to like Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign.  Simple. Direct. Faith in people.

Nike trademark leap of faith:  Just do it.  The Nike folks ran into cultural  boundaries in Africa. They filmed a commercial for hiking shoes in Kenya using Samburu tribesmen. In his native Maa he intones a few words and the slogan ‘Just Do It ‘ comes on the screen.  Anthropologist for the University of Cincinnati said the guy actually said ” I don’t want these! I want big shoes.”    Nike spokesman said they had a hard time finding a Maa equivalent to “Just Do It” so they let the tribesman say just what ever he wanted to say.


tribe cultural differencesjpg

cultural differences – I am lost in American

I applaud this spokesman and can relate to his situation.  As I sit here in the ICU with my mother I realize that we have fallen into cultural boundaries that both of us are aware of. I don’t understand USA rules and recommendations on elder care. I don’t understand the banking issues and rehabilitation guidelines. My mother is looking to me for guidance since she is so frail. I am a capable adult unable to understand “my culture”.  I am of not much help.


With a broken back and on lots of pain medication, my mother slowly starts to understand what is going on and options she has.  I find it takes me three times to understand anything related to the medical options in the USA.  But it takes four to five times for me to grasp knowledge of the insurance options. Both Medical and Insurance information is not part of my expat knowledge since I have been out of the USA for over 20 years now.

Sometimes you do feel the most cultural differences in your own home country.

I am having a hard time finding “a daughter’s”  equivalent to “Just do it” so I let my mom say just whatever she wants to say. We will slowly ‘understand’ together what needs to get done. We will be able to share a few laughs about the situation later when she is in her own environment and we start to see the humor in my lack of knowledge.

just do it
Just Do It

Very beautiful songs from the Kenya  Samburu tribesmen



Samburu, Kenya

168/365 Just do it