You teach to people when you learn from them

Hi guys !

I don’t know if you read this article about this Western white woman who came to Kenya to challenge her life in a Massai tribe , and if you do not see the problem in that matter, please, go to read this incredible and passionate article of this nigerian woman.

This affair made me think about a little story about myself.

As you know, I am a western black woman and, despite my interest for my origins, I had some prejudices – like everyone. I felt it when I met my cousin’s friends, mainly African immigrants (and when I say African , it includes also Arabic persons from Marocco, Algeria and so on).  We discussed about politics, customs, education…

I spent three months with them, talking to them and I learnt so much:  how myself I was privilged as an european, how my future had more chances to grow than their, how France, which was a way to have future for them, was just a country for me. Don’t get me wrong, I was not so naive to believe that I was a poor little black girl, I ever knew that my way of life was more comfortable than my african cousins, for example, but you never really mesure how true it is, until you meet people who are concerned by this unfair reality.

The first time I get aware of this, it is when I went to my father’s country where I spent more than a month, in a popular borough an that I discovered Africa. People treated me as a tourist, because that’s what I was, but I will be eternally gratefull to my father to made me lived in this area. No hostel, just family and real people. Nevertheless, even if I learnt from them, I knew I would never be a part of them. I had to respect that.

This reminded me all those conversations with my friends. They  leaded to a big introspection. I read a lot, saw some movies, tried to understand their point of view and their conception. I broke my last prejudices and stereotypes, knew how I placed in the world. I remember that time when my friend from Ivory Coast told me  how he would rule his country if he could. Without saying what he told me, his position would have attracted all the typical Western good thinking “you should not do that ! In Europe, we do like that“, “According to our rules/concepts/laws/morals, it’s not appropriate“…

In other terms, it would have woken up a violent ethnocentrism, like we are used to see in medias. But I did not, because we were differents and I had to respect and understand that. I even came to the point that I get why they think like that, and even if I don’t share their point of view, I can understand the logic of it through their personnal experiences.

And you know what ? I like them anyway, without asking them to follow my way of thinking, without saying that  “if Africa was following our western model, it would be better” (and this asumption would deserve another huge article), without pretending that I would bring something to Africa, without pretending that I know this continent because of my origins…

And this is the problem with Mindy Budgor : who is she to ask to Massai to change their rules for exploring her egotistic development ? Who is she to enforce a culture to accept her and to come back as a “Warrior princess” ? No one asked her to go there and to change anything, they just taught her that woman were not allowed to be Massai. And even ifit was for the woman’s acceptance, it belongs to kenyan woman to ask to be allowed to, not to her.

If you want to teach something to people, learn first from them. This is what we call exchange.

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