So, when you obviously don’t blend into the culture you are living in it can get a bit interesting walking down the street and doing your shopping. Most foreigners living here deal with some level of chatter about them as they go about their day. A normal day for a foreigner is usually filled with:
“Munu, How are you?” (Munu is the Acholi word for a non-black person)
“Munu! Munu! Munu, bye!” A big favorite of local children.
“Munu, what is my name?” Another children favorite…. they’re still working on their English grammar.
Now that I’ve learned the local language, I can now understand the background chatter that happens about me. I’ve been pleased to discover that there usually isn’t very much additional talk about me. Though, there will be some extra comments if I’m doing something unusual. For example:
“Look at that girl running!”- If I’m jogging in my neighborhood (they don’t run here unless trying to beat out a rain storm, so its pretty weird to do it for exercise)
“Look at that white girl!” If I happen to be in a neighborhood that usually doesn’t have foreign visitors.
So, all in all, its been extremely manageable. I thought that I would have a much harder time adjusting to a culture where its not rude to stare and they don’t think its rude to point out people’s differences. … Then I got pregnant. I now stand corrected from my earlier post about being pregnant in Uganda. I said that they don’t talk about your pregnancy…. which turns out is half true. They don’t talk about my pregnancy to ME! No one has said much to my face about being pregnant… but they don’t know that I can understand the chatter in their language! So I thought I’d share the comments that have come up especially in my 3rd trimester.
“Look at the pregnant munu, her clothes are so nice!” -I have maternity wear that friends sent me, some of it is form fitting which is a big contrast to the flowy dress that’s the standard wear here.
“Her clothes are too tight. Its not good for her pregnancy.” – I think this comment is made under the assumption that I stretched a regular tank top over my 9 month belly… which would definitely be too tight!
“Her belly is so so big!”
“That pregnant girl is walking so good.” Many Acholi women don’t exercise, so they get the pregnancy waddle really early and aren’t used to seeing someone in their 3rd trimester without a waddle.
“That white girl is pregnant!”
“That girl is really, really pregnant!”
“That white girl is so, so pregnant and walking a lot.” -comments from the neighbors where I walk
“Her belly is so big,she will give birth this week.”
“Her belly is so big, she must be having a boy.” – The Acholi say that if your belly is very large then you must be having a boy. In my case, they’re actually right… but I’m pretty sure that’s a coincidence.
“Why hasn’t she given birth yet?” – this question is occasionally posed to me in English, accompanied by, “You haven’t produced yet! Why not?”
So, living here is different than being in the states; no one asks me when the due date is, what I’m having, how far along I am, how I’m feeling, nor do they touch my belly without permission. But I definitely have my own pregnancy experiences here, and soon I will find out what the reaction/commentary track is for having a baby around. 🙂
Moms and soon-to-be Moms everywhere … YOU’RE AWESOME!