While living a life full of stereotypes and assumptions is not easy, my heart is definitely being softened. I briefly mentioned the stereotypes in a previous blog , you can read here, but I wanted to explain further for you. (BTW – I’m the one on the right in the old picture if you read that blog:)
Some of the many frequent phrases or questions I hear:
-Well we eat this, but you for you people, I know you can’t eat that…
-You take [eat] beans? Are you sure?
-No, you don’t take [eat] sweet potatoes?
-Take Bethin out of the sun, she fears the sun…
-You’re walking? It’s too hot / too far for you.
Although it’s hard to hear comments all the time, and sometimes what is said is hurtful; I’ve been realizing, and letting it sink-in, that these are stereotypes. And really, how would these people know any different. What people know is based on their experiences and what they’ve seen in movies or on t.v. To my knowledge, I think Chandler and I are the first white people to live in this particular community longer than a month (WorldRacers). Thus their perception of mzungus.
Sometimes, I have no words in response to what people say to me.
Sometimes, I explain the same thing, over and over again, to the same person.
And sometimes, I just want to laugh at things that seem so absurd to me.
But some people get it. I’ve been breaking some stereotypes in their minds. PTL!
My life is different, there’s no denying that; but that hit me really hard when I had to explain what a fan (like blows cold air) is to one of my 7 year old boys the other day. As I’ve gotten to know people better, developed deeper relationships, and learned more about the people and culture here, my heart has been softening towards the stereotypical-type comments. Over time, I hope our differences will be less and less obvious as we live life together and stereotypes are broken.