Overcoming Postpartum Depression & Living and Loving God's Blessings

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Combining Cultures

I would imagine that if you live somewhere long enough, you become desensitized. I don't want that to happen, but I want the real experience. 

In the beginning, I thought it was cute for all the kids to shout,"muzungo!"  It means white person. It isn't meant to be derogatory. It is just so rare these kids in this area see a white person. Our neighbors in the area know our names and that makes me happy. Some of the kids I see often still shout "muzungo" and I just remind them my name is Jodie. Then they smile and try to say my name. I don't want to be "muzungo" anymore. It is the first time in my life I had to think about the color of my skin. It is the first time I had to think about being different. 

Phill and I have been walking a lot. We almost got ran over by a sheep once. It ran at full speed right between us. We had a good laugh. 

I have to buy carrots for my rabbits. We like to buy from our neighbors. I bought the carrots and we kept walking. Apparently it was so funny to see a "muzungo" holding carrots going for a walk. Everyone laughed and pointed at me. Especially the kids. 

Now this is the stuff you might really chuckle at. Americans are actually pretty rude when it comes to bodily functions. It is not acceptable to burp or fart especially in public. This is a challenge for some of us in the Klamm family. Not mentioning any names. If you must do this, you have to leave or clap your hands to muffle the sound. I am serious. It is so rude to do in this culture. It is called polluting. Our friends tell us people will think something is wrong with you in the head. Thou shall not pollute. 

One of my favorite things about being here is the friendliness of the people. When you go for a walk, you stop and talk to everyone. You greet everyone you see. If you get invited in for tea, you stop in. They are very hospitable. They want to show you their homes and meet their families. I love this. Even if we know very little Swahili, it still works. We can usually figure out what they are saying. 

Lastly, there is such a respect for the opposite sex. Whenever you meet, you shake hands. If you hug someone of the opposite sex, it is a distant hug like you are square dancing. You are called Madame. When a man talks to you he looks at your eyes and not your chest. 
Marquite has been asked for her phone number, has been asked out and jokingly has been asked to be married. She is still mistaken for being Kenyan. We just tell them she has a cute boyfriend at home. Which is true. They back off immediately, disappointed of course because she is gorgeous. There is a respect for a woman who is taken. 
You also NEVER see PDA. They might hold hands but that is it. Kissing in public is not appropriate. You won't see short shorts or tiny tank tops. I was explaining to our friends Joab and James what a massage was and how often Americans get them. Their faces were in shock when I said you only have your underwear on. 

It is such a great learning experience because there are definitely things I don't agree with. It is a mans world. Wives have very little say in major decisions especially when it comes to money. Men can have more than one wife as long as he can afford to provide for them. Teachers and parents hit kids with sticks to make them listen. I still flinch and it upsets me, but I have to know my place. I can't come in and expect to change a culture overnight. I can listen and share how we do things in America. I can respect a different culture even if I don't always agree with things in it. Just like I have with our culture. It is all about perspective and respect. 

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