Muzungu Culture

(Written June 22)

I’m writing this in a Crepe shop in the middle of Amsterdam. The buildings here embellished with classic dutch lines and clean architecture. There are white people everywhere. Muzungu’s everywhere.

I constantly am thinking about where I was just a few hours ago. It seems surreal that I was in the middle of Africa, where I was obviously the minority. Yet, despite the fact that I was constantly called “Muzungu,” or a word for “white person” it Uganda’s native language, I really didn’t mind that much being a country where people wave to you from the street and randomly start talking to you about your life when shopping for trinkets to bring home.

I, on the other hand, was not used to seeing so many Caucasian people honking their horns, hastily walking to their next location, and the overall careless attitude that everyone possessed. In a way, I was expecting it, but it seems that expectations never quite meet realities.

That’s what I learned from traveling to Uganda.

I thought that my culture shock was bad when I arrived into Africa, but I think after adjusting  yourself into a completely different culture for 2 weeks and then jumping into yet another culture that is also completely different than your own, I was shocked.

I was culture shocked out of my mind.

For the whole time while I was in the Netherlands, I did the touristy things: I saw the landmarks, went the museums, and ate the food. But, in the back of my mind, I constantly was brought back to the children who played soccer with us right outside of our hotel in lira. They lived in small villages interconnected by many dirt pathways. They wore the same thing every day, and some kids looked so thin like that hadn’t eaten in days.

They were some of the nicest kids I ever met.

It makes me wonder how many people in Europe would think about them, those children or the people in Africa for that matter. What would they think about? Would they even care? Could they care about people instead of what kind of jacket they wear to go clubbing in?

Sometimes Muzungus confuse me, sometimes Muzungus anger me, but overall, sometimes Muzungus scare me.

And I’m one of them.



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