Adding Burundi to my list of making babies cry : (
“Seriously!” I tell my friends. “Their moms laugh and tell me that their baby has never seen a muzungu before.” I can imagine how scary it must be for little ones to see someone so drained of beautiful colour : )
Visiting my friend’s family in Cibitoke- I am apparently one of the “nice” muzungus passing through their village. Most muzungus they see passing through are foreign soldiers who, I admit, would scare even me.
Jean holds my hand as many of my African friends comfortably do – mostly to keep me safe from passing vehicles and from falling into human sized holes but I tease them that I am convinced it is to show everyone that i am friendly! : )
However, It does not manage to keep the more aggressive money seeking locals away from me. I am fooled by their warm hellos but quickly we are able to cut them short as it is not unlike those I find in Toronto approaching me with their little stories of desperation.
“I’m so sorry, Maylynn…” many of my African friends apologize. “I am a little embarrassed that Africans shout out muzungu and continue to feel they can ask muzungus for money.” I assure them that I understand that my presence is often a first to many and that slowly many misconceptions we all have will change as both our worlds slowly open up courtesy of the world wide web and with more travelers passing through. More and more we are moving towards cultural exchange and the introduction of sustainable development and projects not just handouts. Slowly those I meet and share more than a hello or a smile with learn that not all Muzungus are rich nor are all Africans starving and living in destitute conditions as many are shown in the media of the past.