It was a foreign culture in many ways.  And so familiar in others.  Human beings are human beings, no matter the history, traditions and social assumptions.

The language was different (learning to navigate simultaneous translation was an interesting challenge in teaching).  The Dreaded Drama Triangle did not translate with the initials of DDT intact.  For one thing, the structure of Spanish is such that it would have been something akin to the “triangle of the dreaded drama.”  Our translator was marvelous and she came up with a close approximation.

What was interesting, though, is that almost everyone knew about DDT – the toxic chemical used to kill mosquitoes in their country.  They clearly understood the analogy to the DDT in The Power of TED* and the toxic brew of relationship dynamics between the roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer.

There was a similar challenge with TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic).  In addition to sentence structure, there is no direct translation in Spanish for the word “empowerment.”  Yet, the antidote roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach were clearly comprehended.

There was no issue with understanding the Problem/Victim Orientation and the Outcome/Creator Orientation.  I have experienced repeatedly that the FISBE frame of Focus, Inner State and Behavior more than adequately captures the cognitive, emotional and behavior components of the human experience and connects cross-culturally.

But the value and possibility of making the shift between orientations and between the DDT and TED* roles is what bumped up against cultural assumptions.  While I do not pretend to be anywhere close to a student on the history and culture of these wonderful people, they have lived with centuries of victimization, foreign and class oppression, severe poverty, etc.

(If nothing else, think Spanish Conquistadors and missionaries converting the “heathen” indigenous people.  The country is now over 95% Catholic.  As one Catholic priest attending the workshop observed, the church has sown a lot of guilt and shame into the fabric of the modern culture, which are emotions that feed the DDT.)

The reality is that the people of Ecuador face a lot of problems and the DDT is rife.  As the same priest also put forth, the Problem (Victim) Orientation and DDT has been the way of humankind since the beginning of time.  That is just the way it has always been.

And yet they also saw the possibility of a new way of thinking, being and taking action.  The Outcome (Creator) Orientation and TED* “translated” and they both provoked and evoked hope.  Cultures evolve over time and we are grateful to have been invited to sow seeds of collaboration in the minds and hearts of Creators leading change in Ecuador.

The DDT may be the way it has always been, but TED* stands as a Challenger to the assumption that it is the way it always will be.