White Man’s Burden

In many parts of the world, locals have a name for the foreigner. In DRC it’s mzungu, in East Timor it’s mallai, in India it’s gora, in Nepal it’s bideshi and in China it’s lǎo wài. Despite the benevolent use of the terms, each time I was called (blank), I was slightly offended.

Things are different in Liberia.

No….. they have a name for me, but for some reason I don’t have the same feeling of being disrespected.

Now, as I walk down the street, with children running to my side, I hear a chorus of:

“White man, white man, white man…..hey white man, white man!”

I just smile, wave back, share a brief conversation and move on.

I am unsure why I am so accepting of the phrase here, but it may be secondary to our common language. I now have the ability to communicate and instantly connect with the locals. This sounds simple, but it is a fantastic thing I have not experienced in the last 20 months.

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