Incredible! The kind of things people tell me. Somedays, I laugh almost all day long and my colleagues keep telling me, “Please share the joke.” I am happy and grateful to all my friends who add so much laughter into my life, I love it that way. Even as my birthday is fast approaching, I am happy I still feel 20 and I wanna remain 20 for the longest time ever.
For a long time, many of my friends seem to be pushing me into writing this blog post. Please confirm to us some of the stereotypes we have on white and blacks. Recently, one of Kenyan friends sends me a message, “Patience, I am always following your blog, but it is time! You should share some of those strange observations instead of telling us how great everything is in Norway. My primary school English teacher surprised himself one day. A certain white lady went to “do her thing” at a bush closer to where he was grazing his parents cattle. Being a curious boy like you, he wanted to see if the stuff was white as well. To his amusement, he saw one big green piece of a thing! In his own words…he stopped respecting them that day…so they also produce such kind of thing oh, it smells so awful…! Now, over to you, I am waiting.”
Then another one says, “Patience, confirm to us stereotypes about they “Norwegians”. I know the french are romantic, stingy and have problems taking a shower; the Dutch (my current employers) are brutally honest, candid, trusting and rather stingy….Britons are cold, snobs, full of themselves and take time to trust anybody; Americans, mmmh noisy, boastful and at times clueless, at times know-it-all but easy to get along with…Update us about your new friends, and remember to include their sexual mannerisms.”
It is at this point that I feel like a spy. That I am required to always be on the look out to confirm what we say about each other, strange! I know there are blog posts that I want to write but those can only be written when I return to Kenya. Hahhahahahha, lest my friends here deport me, they have for a number of times warned me on writing on some topics. “Patience, we are watching you closely.” Ok, point taken!
Whites do not shower!
Yesterday on my Facebook page, I asked my African friends to update me on some of the stereotypes we say about the whites. Very strange things I read. “Is it true that they do not shower and they smell?” Now this is a concern I heard even when I was in Kenya and we talk about it freely. That the whites do not shower. I wanna confirm this and in bold. Yes they do, BUT…..most do not change their clothes on a daily basis. In Africa, we have a tropical climate, with long hot seasons and if you live in Mombasa, Kenya, temperatures can go up to 40 degrees. Meaning it can be very hot and sweaty, so many people tend to change clothes on a daily basis, immediately after shower. Then in Norway, the weather as it is now, it is so cold, no one sweats, it is not dusty at all, therefore, even at the end of the day, my clothes seem to be sparking clean. That way, many will reason, there is no point of changing their clothes the following day. Ok, now bring a African to Norway and two-three days they see a Norwegian with the same clothes, automatically we assume, they never showered for those 3 days and of course they smell. Ha ha ha aha!!
“Ok, so just because I don´t change my clothes on a daily basis, you assume we never shower and we even sleep with the same clothes. So, even for you who changes on a daily basis, how can I confirm that you showered, you could have gone to the shower and just changed your clothes. Africans, you are strange,” remarked one of my Norwegian friends.
“Is it true that they are good time keepers unlike us,” asked Parlia Stephan. Oh yes, they are. At first I wondered if a day in Norway has less that 24 hours. In Norway, they seem to be running all the time and they have to make maximum use of every minute they get. This explains the reason they are ahead of us in many ways. Good planners and very productive. A writer said, “If you do not know the value of 1 minute, ask someone who has missed his flight, but in Norway, ask someone who has missed his bus.” The bus is rarely late, so it is you who is late. If it is meant to leave at 12.00, it will leave exactly at that time. No wonder they find it strange that Kenyan matatu and bus conductors wait, persuade, plead and even negotiate with passengers. When I have an appointment with Norwegians, they always remind me, “Patience, remember to be on time, not African time.” Ok, now I have learnt the hard way, so my Kenyan friends, watch out for this, I give you a date, you´d better be there on time. Being the Kenyan I am, I will give you +5 minutes, you don´t show up without prior notice, off I go.
Whites more Intelligent
For a long time, of course this hails from colonialism. The whites colonized us, brought us Education, Christianity and taught us many things, automatically we associate them with superiority and imagine they are more intelligent than we are. I still want a chance to correct this unobjective mindset. We have intelligent and non- intelligent people everywhere. Whoever thinks that the whites are more intelligent than the blacks, is a mere perception and an inferiority complex on our part. I have never at one point imagined these white people are more intelligent that I am, no!! They are lucky that they are in developed countries, with better technological infrastructure, at least that for me makes the difference, and makes me see myself in a better perspective! I respect them for the fact that they have taught me so much and they have given me a chance to teach them something, so we learn from each other.
Are they racists?
After a year in Norway, I went back home and many people seemed to be asking me the same question, “Are they racist? Do they discriminate against you?” I am not sure of how to answer this question because many do not believe me when I say, I am sorry, but I haven´t been in a situation where I feel I was treated unfairly because I am an African. No not at all. One of my African friends once said, “You are lucky you came here to work, go back to Kenya and apply to come here as a political asylum seeker, the same people Patience, who treat you so special, you will not believe how they will turn their backs on you.”
This was definitely one stereotype that led to a long discussion on my Facebook wall. “White guys thinks all Africans have big male organs and African guys think that all whites have smaller ones. I think that is a myth.” Commented Goodman Kenstar. But Parlia Stephan thought otherwise. “It might not be true about the big dick, small dick stuff but the Asians here in India have small dicks and therefore they do not circumcise so it´s not a myth.”
Then I went back to one of my emails and I remember one of my friends wrote to me, “ I know you are cultured but I will be surprised if after all this long you came back without a mzungu and without a clue! And I suppose that would be some of the tid bits…then given a chance you are able to compare and contrast the black and white action based on your experiences…he he…that would be a good story… I can´t wait to read about it. Note, I am not trying to teach you bad manners!”
Ok, so what do the whites think about us? Story on my blog next week on Tuesday.
The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, “It’s a girl.” ~Shirley Chisholm