I have never seen a difference in culture as a problem or something that builds a wall between me and somebody I meet. Of course, with all the differences in belief and so on, I know that people don’t always have the best feelings with each other and that those distances are ‘normal’.
But now, while being here in Africa, I personally experience this distance between people based on color and culture. I don’t want to believe in this difference, but I cannot be blind to it neither.
Currently I am working in a hotel in Tanzania. In the hotel white people eat with white people and black people with black. The hotel is owned by Polish people, and surprisingly most managing positions are held by expats. White people get convenient staff rooms with Air conditioning while others have to share their room with 2 other people. WHY? Why can’t my German friend not share her room with a local trainee girl? WHY is it possible that in the 21st century, hotels in paradise Islands are not fair to all employees? And most funny, WHY am I even surprised that this unfairness is here? As a tourist it is kind of my own fault that there is this big unfairness! Money invested in those islands can be seen as good, but my question is, were local people not more satisfied with what they had before ‘mzungos’ came to these paradise islands.
‘Renske, you cannot go there alone. Renske, you cannot trust that local person.’ Renske, do not be so naïve. ‘Renske, do what you want but do not cry when something happens to you.’ STOP. Let me discover by myself, and form my own opinion about the situations that I am in.
Yesterday, we celebrated Johny’s birthday. Johny turned 24 and is from Dar es Salaam. We had balloons, chips, drinks and MUSIC. Everybody was dancing together. Johnny and his friends tried to teach me how to dance ‘African Style’! The most amazing thing about this evening was the appreciation Johnny had for this simple party we organized for him. While being together this evening, there was no difference among each other and I would like to keep it that way. I would like to keep this cultural and racial distance as small as the distance in dancing next to each other. We can learn from each other, and have fun together. I will create my own opinion about the differences we have, and the trust I should and can’t have in people surrounding me.