Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sticks and Stones...and the election too

"Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me."

What is the hardest thing about living in Congo?
The war, the insecurity, the lack of healthcare, the pollution...
No, absolutely not.
The hardest thing to me about living in Congo is being called mzungu (white person)


I've lived here over two years. I've probably been called mzungu atleast a couple thousand times. When am I going to get over it?

My husband suggests I stop walking around. Choose my company a bit more carefully. I suppose I could. But what is the point of being in Congo, if I live behind walls the whole time? I like to be out there in the streets, I like to hear what regular people are saying...

Except that what they are saying, half the time, is mzungu...

And this is why I am thankful for Obama's inauguration today. I don't think he won because he is black, and I don't think he one inspite of being black. I think people were just too busy looking at other issues.

And this is why in the end I can't get over being called Mzungu. Because here I am, in someone else's country, trying my hardest to get to know the people who actually live here. And too often, all they can see is my skin.

A year ago I thought Obama would never be president for the same reason.

Here's to change.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Again, totally hear you - except in Ethiopia it's 'Farange' (or 'China', as I have dark hair, pale skin and a round face).