Being African


Part 1b: Living and managing the “Exotic Curio” lifestyle in Colle without resorting to Violence

Let me explain…

I will take this opportunity henceforth to talk a bit about making friends in college. We hardly realize that for many of our college mates, this is the first time most of them (black or white) have seen an African in the flesh. Africa in most of the western world is represented by Masaai warriors, droopy saggy breasted women with flies just chilling around their general facial area plastered on National Geographic magazines every other month, Gikomba, the flying toilets of Kibera ( I still don’t know how they took those pictures of those majwala mid-air), and of course when you say you’re from Kenya they instantly ask you if you are somehow a long-distance runner from K.K’s bloodline.



It would also be the first time many of the white kids in this new collective have seen a black person in person, wengi hawajai ona akataa live live.

So being bundled around in orientation with a couple of freshman newbies is bound to inspire conversation. And by conversation I mean wishing they would stop asking some of the most mind-numbing questions on the planet.

I still vividly remember this conversation I had a couple of years ago:

Him: Hey, wow I’ve never met a real African before! What’s your name?? My name is *inserts name here*

Me: *subtly rolling eyes* Oh really? Cool. My name is ….

Him: Awesome, you guys have English names.How cool is that! What language do you speak, your English is better than mine!



Later, at a group lunch,

Him: Hey, do you guys have a McDonalds or a Starbucks?

At this point I’m just about up to my kisogo with the questions…

Me: *sigh*No we do not. My country has its own ways of creating fast   foods, eateries, whatever we need that serve our dining/drinking/blah blah desires.

He looks at me, searching my face for a sign of sarcasm and asks,

Him: WHAT? What do you mean you guys don’t even have McDonalds? That must suck!Well, what do you have in ( country) where you can get kick-ass food and coffee?

At this point I am rolling on the balls of my feet trying to keep my cool, you know, no sense in being deported back to Kenya within the first week for beating mtoto wa watu. So I rattle off a couple of names and watch as his eyes glaze over. Then he remarks,

Him: Oh, cool, so you guys have a Jamba Juice or whatever. Cool.





My series of emotions and face during the course of that conversation


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