We gon be alright. ✊🏾

Journal entry from September 12, 2016:
I collapsed in my bed mediating on Kendricks Lamar’s single “we gon be alright” to comfort me as I processed the days events.

Earlier today I ventured off into my shopping town to check out the local library. Maybe there I could find some decent wifi and upload new pictures on my blog. 

After a hour of attempting to update my blog but having no luck, I decided it was time to leave.

I crossed towards the room and headed to the door with my backpack in hand, when one of the guys behind the counter muttered some words in sisswati I couldn’t quite make out.

A little apprehensive I told him to please repeat what he said in English. 

With disdain in his voice he asked me are you too good for the local language? Do you want to be white?

Laughter erupted from the others behind the desk.

No not at all Babe I’m an American volunteer and I just moved–Interrupted, he said, please give me your bag umlungu (white person).

My heart beat increased. Pressure mounted as I handed him my bag.

There’s no way you’re an American. Next time speak sisswati this is Swaziland!

Cringing and fighting back tears I grabbed my backpack and left the building. 

The damage was done. 

I was rejected because I did not fit his image of an American. I was ridiculed because I was at a low level in my sisswati. 

I left a teachable moment alone because I was too numb to speak. 
*

*

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There are times in Swaziland I’ve been treated as a second class citizen or felt “unqualified” because I’m not a White American. Some Swazi’s don’t understand the concept that Black people are in America. They associate wealth, foreign aid, and America to only “white.” To be honest it can be mentally draining to explain my blackness and what diversity looks like in America.

My community is hosting a volunteer for the first time. I’m grateful, from day one I was embraced. People vocalize their curiosity when they meet me for the first time, hear my accent, and wonder where I come from. The color of my skin allows me to blend in and I truly love it! 

The sad truth is some people don’t get it and will continue with their microaggressions, subtle racism, and ignorance but I’ve come to realize some people’s perceptions/behaviors wont change. I can’t focus on the things I can’t control. I’ll continue to redirect my energy to things positive and build myself up. 

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Author: Nicole

I've decided to uproot my life and dedicate it to serving in the Peace Corps for 27 months. Yuuuuup, you read that right. God has helped me redefine limitations. A dear friend once told me that, "boxes are for shoes, you never know how great you are until you break out of the box and see what you are really made of!" This blog will chronicle my adventures as a Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer in the Kingdom of Swaziland! You'll read about my highest of highs compounded with the lowest of lows - raw and unfiltered. Please enjoy the view. :) *The contents of this blog are mine and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.*

One thought on “We gon be alright. ✊🏾”

  1. All around the world it’s the same song, just different.
    People assume things about me because I’m white.
    I’m educated but they don’t realize it took me 14 YEARS after high school to get a degree and other life choices of priorities and God’s plans have not allowed me to be more than an attempted follower of Jesus, a mom and a lunch lady, a daughter, a sister, a former wife, an attempted friend, an abuse survivor, a white person who values not relating to many white people lol who tries to speak Spanish whenever possible and however basic it may be, etc., and yet it’s enough.
    They don’t know I grew up in a single parent household with a mom merely 17 years older than I, around drugs and alcohol and abuse and government cheese and never fitting it to the larger white community around me, and somehow having the audacity to think I could/should/ would go to college (I always was “smart”), and marrying a smart funny hard-working man who refused to love me and quit hating on and trying to break everything I said and did, especially my eventually determining and putting God, an invisible being, first.
    People put too much effort and stock in being different when, BY GOD’S GRACE ALONE, we’re all basically the same.
    Keep on keeping on in the faith and knowledge that friends and strangers across the globe love you as a beautiful woman made in God’s image, as He made them in His image, male and female.
    Keep doin your thing!

    Like

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