That’s not usual for those that know me.  I’ve more than once been the ‘odd gal out.’  Tonight was different.

Set up: 

I was waiting at a restaurant new to me in neighborhood.  I was going to be meeting someone who graduated from my alma mater several years before me whom I’ve never actually met.  I don’t have his number.

Action:

I stood for awhile and a waiter stopped to see if I needed anything.  I told him the situation and he asked if I’d looked around the restaurant and I said I didn’t think that would be helpful since I didn’t know what the person looked like.  He looked at me and suggested I try since, well, “you’re white” and I would stand out.  It didn’t really phase me that he said that because it’s true.  However, after looking around the restaurant with him and continuing to wait near the door I looked around me.  I was in an open area with sevearl televisions tuned to the seven-o-clock Swahili news, which I don’t understand.  I realized that I was the only mzungu, or foriegner, in the entire (large) restaurant and thought that it might be strange to go home to my church and friends and have few if any non-whites around me.  I thought about how I wasn’t in the least bit offended by the waiter referring to me as white and that I was obviously sticking out a bit, it didn’t seem like it was a bad thing to him or to me.  I wondered if people there were judging me because I was white.  I wondered if people there even noticed me because I was white- were they ignoring my presence? 

I never felt bad, threatened, in danger, wierd, nothing that peoplemention feeling in America (and I’m sure other parts of the world)when they are in a situation where they are in the minority.  Why is that?  Is it good or bad that our history shapes us so strongly?  How do I face our collective history, make it my own and move forward in a positive direction?  What changes in my actions and more importantly in my heart?

I ask that last question everyday, often many, many, many times.  What’s next and how do I live differently and better for Jesus using what he’s taught me through my time in Africa?

I just know that it’s good to wrestle with these questions and feelings and work through them.  I’d love to talk to any of you with insights or that are wrestling, too.

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