How to make a friend in Uganda. business consultant, NGO worker, former Peace Corps volunteer, activist: searching for sustainable solutions to eradicate extreme poverty

November 18, 2010

finding identity.

Filed under: Peace Corps,Uganda — Jeff @ 11:36 am

Funny isn’t it how living in a foreign place causes one to question and better define their identity?

I cannot escape the color of my skin. It differentiates me instantly from everyone in the valley. I am quite sure that many of the locals I meet everyday have never seen a person with skin as light as mine. Little girls giggle. Older boys stare with suspicion.

As well, the effects of colonialism are everywhere. Yesterday, while visiting a family in a nearby village, the woman asked: “Do you think that we are animals because of the color of our skin?” At first I smiled as they were. Then, as the phrase was translated, I felt disturbed. Speechless. It is not just the evil of the expression that nauseates me; it is that the woman held the perception that my heart might contain that filth.

The flip side is that my mere presence holds such high esteem. Sharing a meal or simply walking or conversing with a villager gives them bragging rights. My counterpart says that by accompanying him, clients are more forthright about why they cannot repay their loans. Everyone asks if I will spend the night. I am a highly sought commodity.

If I am to find my place within this community, I will have to first break down these stereotypes and prejudices.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Powered by WordPress