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.

2 thoughts on “DAY TWELVE

  1. They look like a beautiful family. Since there are seven children, you Mayling, would have been equivalent to the young person with the yellow shirt. You used to be the little one in Trinidad, and then Canada. Otherwise, you drained of beautiful colour? What am I then, a bottle of milk? ;o)

    It’s odd, but for years I’ve been wondering what happened to Burundi. In the past, one would always hear about Ruanda/Burundi, as though it was a single place. Then Ruanda had the war, since when we never hear about Burundi: as though it ceased to exist. So it’s great to hear that not only have you been there (proving that it wasn’t a figment of my imagination), but that you even have friends there! Great!

    Keep your posts coming, sister. Your writing is so interesting, as are your African friends. And to think that I had the opportunity and could have spent most of my life in that part of the world, had I had the courage, and not been so homesick for old England.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s