The Liberian Handshake

The handshake in Liberia is unique…and apparently has a good lesson for us.  Here are Gordon Barker’s reflections on that and their nervous laughter at some of our questions…

The hand shake – Ask one of us who has been to Liberia and we will teach you the Liberian handshake.  It is a five step process that ends in a mutual finger snap.  At least it is supposed to end in a mutual finger snap, but we Americans struggled with this providing great amusement and laughter for the Liberians.  Sampson, one of the leaders at the church in Monrovia, enjoyed adding extra steps in the hand shake just to give me a hard time.  Finally I said “Let me show you an American handshake”.  Afterword he looked at me, laughed and said, “You Americans are always in such a hurry, you don’t even have time for a proper handshake.”  Funny, but true.

(Note:  To see a blog out there with a full picture demonstration, click here.)

Nervous laughter at questions – Several Liberians we met reacted to our questions with nervous laughter.  We were even told that Danny had warned his leaders that Americans ask a lot of questions, that we are very curious people.  We thought that they would ask us a lot more questions about America, but there were very few.  This is definitely a cultural difference between Americans and Liberians.

~ by Greg Lee on September 24, 2010.

One Response to “The Liberian Handshake”

  1. We also have a handshake ending in a mutual finger snap here but as far as I’ve done it’s not a 5 stepper, haha. Maybe that’s just because they know I’m American and just giving me a break!

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