I’m so excited to introduce you today to author Rachel Pieh Jones today. Rachel was introduced to me by one of my listeners named Judith. Judith forwarded me an essay Rachel wrote titled Bread Baked in the Heat of Hell and said she’d love to hear more from Rachel here on the podcast.
The piece was beautifully written and truly transported me to a moment when the Djiboutian food, community, and religion intersected for Rachel in Djibouti, Africa, which has been her home for almost 20 years.
In Djibouti, Rachel has raised 3 children in a cross-cultural setting that really couldn’t be more different than how she was raised in a small, insulated Midwestern town. As Rachel sought community in Djibouti, she began to question every premise of her own religion, Christianity, and the prevailing values of American culture, as she engaged with her Muslim friends and neighbors.
Rachel has recently discussed these experiences openly and at length in her latest book Pillars: How My Muslim Friends Led Me Closer to Jesus. I read the book after our interview and filled my phone with screenshots (the modern version of highlighting, haha).
In my opinion, Rachel’s experiences, along with her unflinching introspection and raw honestly, highly qualify her to give me advice on how to lovingly and effectively engage with friends, neighbors, and acquaintances of other cultures and belief systems.
I’m so thankful she’s here today to share more of her experiences and particularly what they can teach us about relating with our neighbors. Specifically, Rachel shares 3 key words to keep in mind as we consider how to improve cross-cultural communication.
- 120 and so dry skin can crack
- Where is Djibouti in Africa
- Camel trains carrying bricks of salt to barter with Ethiopians
- Sounds – the call to prayer, wild green parrots, fresh baguettes
- 9 military bases in one small country
- The Do Good Better Project – the inherent problems in humanitarian and faith-based work, especially cross-culturally.
- Cultivating attitudes of humility, curiosity, and delight in cross-cultural experiences – ***
- Not being embarrassed to ask what we don’t know
- The role of food in finding delight in Djiboutian culture
- Food in welcome, grief, faith, and culture in Djibouti
- The role of fasting and feasting in Islam vs. Christianity
- Lack of food during COVID in Djibouti – and what American’s can learn from Djiboutians
- The communal aspect of making food together
- Keeping and adjusting American Thanksgiving traditions in Djibouti
- Why they bought their son a baguette-scented candle
- Why housekeepers have housekeepers in Djibouti
Listen to Guest Now
Follow The Storied Recipe in Your Favorite Player
Rachel's Storied Recipe: Somalian Rice Dish: Isku Dhex Karis
More Episodes with Third Culture Adults
More African Recipes
How To Contact Rachel Pieh Jones:
Do Good Better on Substack: rachelpiehjones.substack.com/