A human again

So, not gonna lie, the past few weeks I have again felt something less than a person. It’s always been, “New teacher,” or “Mzungu,” or any other of the nomenclature I must respond to. Very rarely is it my name, and always is it something associated with a sense of otherness.

Today was a bit different. I had three experiences which made me feel like I can just be a person here in Mombasa, which will again be presented in my favorite information formatting technique, the list:

1) I signed “Good Morning,” to the deaf Kenyans who run a candy table near the Mombasa Posta. I was unable to stop and chat, which is good because I am unable to sign much more than “Good Morning,” and my sign name (which is sign for “Die Hard,”), but they smiled and I felt like I added something positive to their day.

2) I helped push one of the big human-pulled carts off the ferry. I need to get a picture of one of these on the site so you can see them. Basically Kenyans pull them instead of horses or donkeys. They needed help getting momentum to get it off the ferry and asked me, so I said sure. When I had finished and was walking off they gave me a simple thumbs up. Didn’t ask for money or anything. Didn’t even call me mzgunu. Just a thumbs up.

3) The touts (matatu conductors) have been more persistent recently about trying to charge 25 bob for the trip home from the ferry. It’s supposed to be 20. So I helped with a kenyan mama to argue that its supposed to be 20. They heeded what I contributed, and we paid 20. Again, no mzungu, just thanks.

I’m finding my groove. It’s good.


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