Contact With People

Some of the best and most frequently given advice, when dealing with local peoples, is for the survivor to accept,
respect, and adapt to their ways. Thus, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” This is excellent advice, but there
are several considerations involved in putting this advice into practice.

Contact With People
You must give serious consideration to dealing with the local people. Do they have a primitive culture? Are they farmers, fishermen, friendly people, or enemy? As a survivor, “cross-cultural communication” can vary radically from area to area and from people to people. It may mean interaction with people of an extremely primitive culture or contact with people who have a relatively modem culture. A culture is identified by standards of behavior that its members consider proper and acceptable but may or may not conform to your idea of what is proper. No matter who these people are, you can expect they will have laws, social and
economic values, and political and religious beliefs that may be radically
different from yours. Before deploying into your area of operations, study these different cultural aspects. Prior study and preparation will help you make or avoid contact if you have to deal with the local population.

People will be friendly, unfriendly, or they will choose to ignore you. Their attitude may be unknown. If the people are known to be friendly, try to keep them friendly through your courtesy and respect for their religion, politics, social customs, habits, and all other aspects of their culture. If the people are known to be enemies or are unknowns, make every effort to avoid any contact and leave no sign of your presence. A basic knowledge of the daily habits of the local people will be essential in this attempt. If after careful observation you determine that an unknown people are friendly, you may contact them if you absolutely need
their help.

Usually, you have little to fear and much to gain from cautious and respectful contact with local people of friendly or neutral countries. If you
become familiar with the local customs, display common decency, and most important, show respect for their customs, you should be able to avoid trouble and possibly gain needed help. To make contact, wait until only one person is near and, if possible, let that person make the initial approach. Most people will be willing to help a survivor who appears to be in need. However, local political attitudes, instruction, or propaganda efforts may change the attitudes of otherwise friendly people. Conversely, in unfriendly countries, many people, especially in remote areas, may feel animosity toward their politicians and may be more friendly toward a survivor.

The key to successful contact with local peoples is to be friendly, courteous, and patient. Displaying fear, showing weapons, and making
sudden or threatening movements can cause a local person to fear you. Such actions can prompt a hostile response. When attempting a contact, smile as often as you can. Many local peoples are shy and seem unapproachable, or they may ignore you. Approach them slowly and do not rush your contact.