Things that people I know are telling me

July 3, 2013 - Mombasa, Kenya

This text is based on my acquaintance’s statements. I don’t want to make fun or offend someone, these are some information I gathered. Some of them are funny, some of them are sad.

In school, the subject of discrimination of women comes up very often. Art, Sport and Music seem to be exclusive for boys. Girls are not considered as artists and I can sense that in the lessons. Every time I give them a new task, they are saying “I cannot draw” or “I don’t know how to draw…” Fortunately, the results are different.

In church but also at public places like a restaurant with TV – as soon as the talk is about gays, people laugh, feel ashamed or start joking about gays. In individual talks, I realize that there is little acceptance towards different people.

Something disappointing is the assumption, that white people don’t have any clue about life. Many people around me act surprised, when I start washing the utensils. They ask me if I also know how to wash clothes and how to clean a house. Why is it that it seems we don’t know these things? Because at home everyone has to do them. And here in Kenya, many people employ a maid. A young girl who does most of the work at home, including taking care of the kids. But for us (in Germany for example), it is very unlikely to find someone with a maid. Plus, employers don’t trust most of those house girls.

Some of my friends confuse England and USA very often. I often have to explain, that they are not the same country. A few weeks ago, the officials of England apologized for what they have done in the past and promised to give some money to the Mau-Mau-Freedom fighters of Kenya. But this apology is not accepted over here. At least not by many people.

Sometimes I’m sad because my host mum doesn’t pay much interest in Germany. When there is something in the news, she doesn’t listen and once there was a documentary on Nazis but she didn’t even want to listen, when I tried to explain to her who Nazis and A. Hitler were.

When I haven’t been around somewhere, probably thanks to too much work, my friends say “you are so lost”. It doesn’t mean that I’m confused with the street or something; it means they didn’t see me.

One Sunday in church, the pastor was including the way of disciplining children in his sermon. He portrayed a father beating his son and called it “teaching discipline”. I was shocked. The bible says, we have to discipline our children, you know? And he made fun of the “western style of education”, how it is far too soft on the kids. I couldn’t join the laughing audience.

It makes me happy to see, how much work Muslims do for the needy before the holy month of Ramadan starts. My mentor and her friend collected a lot of money to buy food for an orphanage. Around 10th of July, Ramadan starts. I’m looking forward to the fasting and the celebrations. The streets will be full of people up to midnight.

When my Muslim friends say “InshALLA”, I had to learn its meaning. The translation is “In GODs willing”. But when someone says “Tomorrow we will meet InshALLAH” it means, maybe we meet, or maybe not. It depends on God’s will. Most of the time it means we won’t meet…

And the last one: Someone told me, that Jesus is a Muslim and the Bible is lying to me about him.


After playing Basketball in church
Preparing for the wedding
Zebra along the road in Tsavo
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