Wednesday, December 5, 2012

And when I feel like I'm Chinese

Original Email Post: Jun 18

I'm currently sitting and waiting for one of the new trainees to be finished with their training for the day so as to show them my site. As I'm sitting here it hits me how different my experience being an abc (American born Chinese) in Uganda versus being white or another ethnicity.

Of course, as a Chinese looking person, I definitely don't get harassed like those who have blond/brunette hair with light colored eyes. Part of it is because of course here, with all the Chinese construction workers, I'm thought of as Chinese and the Chinese here are mean but bring jobs unlike the nice and wealthy westerners. But being here is much cooler than that.

The Chinese here are friendly to me, partly in fascination that I'm American Chinese and that I speak Chinese and partially because I'm female, which I'm sure you can deduce means they don't see many Chinese females. But that's beside the point.

What it's means for me is that they're willing to share how they work with me. If I want, I can stand with them as they work on the roads and pretend I'm one of those Chinese supervisors too. All the workers always say hi to me and I totally blend in to the ugandans. They treat me like their own and always share if they're munching on something.

And it's cool because standing along the road with them, it's so far removed from anything I know or would do. They're really from a different world and in a way, a different social class. Although, their status being here in Uganda and being in china really differs too, and you can tell by how they talk about things and why many choose to continue to stay abroad rather than return home.

Regardless, it's nice to share and connect with people and it's funny how they always tell me I'm so lucky to be born in America and that I speak such wonderful English. Well, they're lucky too cause I wish I spoke better Chinese! Sometimes I just nod and smile because in reality, I either don't understand half of what they're saying or I just can't understand their dialect/accent.

Sorry if I'm rambling. Waiting for trainees to be done is boring. And Im really tired today.

I'll try to upload some pictures soon. We gave away Jerry cans this past weekend and got to see the progress of the pit latrines we're building/renovating. I did have a -___- moment when some kid who's hand I was shaking decided to scratch his bare butt and go back to holding my hand again (I suppose it didn't help that he obviously had some kind of skin condition). Anyhow, the kids were pretty happy And one parent got a kick out of me recording a video of her dog howling at me. :)

Cheers,
Tiff

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