sometimes when i ride out, or visit the mitumba (second hand clothes market) or go for a walk, people shout out "Mzungu! Mzungu!" which translated directly means "White person!" sometimes i don't mind. other times it really annoys me. it's rude. frankly, it could be insulting. there are a million other ways of greeting someone.
anyway. sometimes i answer:
" mimi sio mzungu. mimi ni mtu kama wewe, sindio?"
(i'm not a white. i am a person like you, no?)
nine times out of ten, it's greeted with thumbs up and smiles all round. and should i ever come across it the other way, i would say the same thing. it's to do with belonging. everyone wants to belong. no matter what colour, size, height.
whenever we ride out, we pass villages along the way and are always followed by a dancing excited crowd of children. the children at the bottom of the hill are my favourite. because i sort of know them. there is isaac, who is the only one brave enough to ride his donkey and ali, who is the littlest. whenever i ride past they shout out:
farasi! farasi! farasi! maneno maneno maneno! kitikaa kitikaa kitikaa!
which translated directly means horse! horse! trouble trouble trouble! and then i think kitikaa is a reference to the noise of the horses hooves. someone else said maneno in this case is a reference to a dance - a sexy gyrating of the hips...hmmmm. labda. maybe. and sometimes they call out the horses names. kifaru! kifaru! (rhino! rhino!) my horse is called rhino. he is white. he doesn't get called mzungu. i love it. because they never shout out "mzungu! mzungu!" i feel i belong somehow.
there is a village far across the plains, on the other side of oljoru, the pointy very high hill which we see south east from ngorobob hill. i love to ride out there. to trot for miles and miles across the plains, the mountains out (meru and kili) on a clear day, the wind whipping up the dust, keeping us cool. the sun on my back and my heart on a string above me. passing the lady who always shouts out "Karibu chai!" (welcome for tea!). yesterday as i was slowing down, a little boy, not more than 6, stood on the edge of his village, looking after his fat shiny goats. he shouted out " Mzungu!" so i stopped the horse, and said my line:
me: mimi sio mzungu.
him: wewe ni nini? (then what are you?)
me: mimi ni janelli. (i am janelle)
him: oh. wapi ingine? (oh. where are the others?)
and he made me laugh with delight. maybe he told his friends he met another tribe of mzungu called janelli.
or even better maybe next time i ride by he will shout out " janelli!"
thinking of ditching the kitchen board for 2009. what do you think? not sure...
well, tooooooooooodely old pip then, and bisous, toujours xxx j