Most Africans have black skin. Mine is white. It’s a simple fact. I was taught that it was like how some have brown eyes and others blue or green, it doesn’t matter and you shouldn’t care. But here, they know better.
Muzungu! Muzungu! Bonjour Monsieur Munzungu! Kids run after us. They yell, they scream. White person! White person! Hello Mr. White Person! You hear it from cars, from passing trucks, young, old but especially the rural poor. Though they’re truly uneducated, maybe an eighth grade education, they know that the average white person has more money than the average black person. It’s a simple fact. You want to believe it doesn’t matter, but it does.
This once, I got a flat tire right outside a roadside village and everyone came out to watch, from little kids to the village drunks. These two, maybe 13 and 14, they wanted to help. And no doubt, they were better at patching inner tubes than me. Cool. He asked me where I was from. America. Ah! America, where everything is good. I didn’t know how to respond. We started inflating the patched tube but the valve blew out and the tire shriveled. Their faces dropped. They couldn’t help me and I wasn’t going to help them. One of the kids asked, in America, there are jobs? In America, you just go to school? And that, that just breaks your heart.