AFRICAN ABROAD

I just had nice long shower. It was not instant. They do not call them instant here. When Rógvi was sharing his Kenyan experience, he mentioned of how strange it was that we used instant showers. I could not argue or rather correct him. It is just shower. warm shower. It is not like one washes our sins away while the other does not. Furthermore, I have gotten accustomed to the tradition of using multiple shower gels as opposed to the bar soap I was used to. Using bar soap was supposed to keep yeast infections a bay from my flower. It is definitely not a taboo to call it vagina but she did not. She would ensure that we washed and rinsed our under wears thoroughly after the shower. Is there any other African abroad who share the same sentiments?

We do not wash our hair every time we shower. Our hair is very fragile. It is kinky but fragile. Washing every other day is called over manipulation by the African natural hair superstars. Furthermore, we need extensions and wigs especially during winter. This is to prevent it from the extreme weather patterns. These are statements I have had to repeat over and over again. It is the second question I am asked after the why I am here. I am grateful my husband pretends to understand and does not bombard me with same questions whenever I am spending an entire weekend with my hair. These are some of the things the West makes me do.

Some of these practices are hard to adjust from. For instance, washing my andy after showering. I am supposed to put it in the laundry basket together with my other dirty laundry.  More so, it is an under garment. It is supposed to be private. Whenever we dried it outdoors, we always covered them with a bathing towel.  That was another thing that I could not make a switch from. I always need to scrub my body. Not scrub, scrub, but not just use bare hands and claim to have showered. People in the west do not use the scrubbing towel in the bathroom.

I have often found myself trying to say warer  instead of water. However my never sounds real. Accent was another development that has been inevitable. In fact, this is really funny as danish people are not English speakers. One of my friends living in the Middle East applauded my accent from my video blogs. She called the new accent refined. She congratulated me on getting rid of my Meru accent. I am not so sure I had one, but sometimes it takes other people to notice our growth. As a matter of fact, I must have improved as my husband does not take long to figure out what I am saying anymore.

In all honesty, I have met different people in this west. People from America, Greece, Philippines, Japan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bulgaria, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Armenia and even Kenya. Some of them are willing to do anything to stay while others like me first felt the dire need to go back home. It was my wish for a long time until I decided to focus on what it is rather than what it could have been.  So far so good. I am already getting used to having a title, African. More than one title. I am an immigrant. She called me yesterday to let me know of how amazing my blog was. She went ahead to emphasize on how she has never seen an immigrant do such a thing. I smiled with gratitude which is often associated with immigrant’s insecurities.

Contrary to my wish of going home, I have met other Africans willing to do anything to stay abroad. Those that have sacrificed their high education qualifications to be cleaners and bartenders. I have so often dared to ask the reason for their burning desire to live abroad, most of them can barely tell. They end up calling me proud because I already have papers. I have a status, that is what they tell me. Whenever I slip my mouth and say that I am broke, some of them start suggesting various African jobs. One of them recently  said,”These are the kind of jobs Africans do in Europe.” I have nothing against cleaners and bartenders. However, it should not be associated with a certain group of people by the same people. Africans abroad should be more positive.

The culture is no longer shocking me. I am embracing but trying not to forget the one that moulded me, mama Afrika. Notably, to smile back to a fellow mum when the babies meet eye. We do not say a word to each other. Even more, she will ask Bernie hvad hedder du? translated to mean what his name is, but not a word to me. Perhaps I am required to go first. I should ask questions like, what her name is and the name of the baby. However, I can barely hold a decent conversation in Danish so I let myself be integrated into the culture of smile language.  I am still learning. I am still a villager in the West.

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2 Comments

  1. Don’t do the “African jobs”, whatever that means. Don’t conform. Stand alone if you have to, but at least remain true to your dreams and goals, it may take time to achieve the ultimate career, meanwhile enjoy the journey and don’t conform to these mediocre “African” standard. You are an individual.

    1. Thank you. I feel exactly the same about it. I am well with where I am and more to that, I have no obligation to prove to anyone that my life is perfect. I told the lady, thank you but no thank you. In the meantime I am a blogger. You will be shocked to find out that she didn’t even know who a blogger is.