In 1992, Yoshihiro Hattori, a Japanese student, was shot and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when he went to the wrong house by mistake. This happened because of misunderstandings: the house owner did not realize that his victim did not understand the command "Freeze"; the student did not realize that many Americans keep guns in their homes to defend themselves against intruders. During the recent war in Kosovo, American strategists were surprised when support for the current regime increased when bombing started. In ways both large and small, cultural misunderstandings cost lives and resources.
The mission of therewewere is to promote cross-cultural understanding through the writings of people who have personal experience with cultural differences.
In the year 2000 therewewere was written and produced in the field. In order to reach a wide audience, the writings were published both as a half-yearly magazine and as a companion web site. I began my travels in Katmandu, Nepal, and continued across the continents, writing of my experiences as I went. Other writers, making their own journies and bringing different perspectives, sent therewewere articles for editing and publishing.
In addition to articles, the therewewere web site hosted an interactive classroom with select junior and senior high school classes. These classes were able to exchange messages with those involved in this project, asking and answering questions about people around the world and the cultures in which they live.
Now therewewere has rearranged its structure.
New articles are occasionaly uploaded but mostly the articles and classroom lessons exsist to provide the site's visitors with learning tools and archival information.
In these ways, I hope to share the knowledge that brings understanding.