I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD

In an attempt to share more about my life here in Uganda, I’ve decided to start a blog series called “I Never Thought I Would.” I will occasionally post an entry about something that (before moving to Uganda) I never thought I would hear/see/experience/think/witness/etc. Here is the first entry, hope you enjoy it!

I Never Thought I Would…

Know the lyrics to several Country music songs: In the four months that I’ve been here, one thing that has become abundantly clear is that Ugandans love country music (especially Kenny Rogers)! I’ve probably listened to more Country music here than in the entire time I lived in the U.S. I asked a few of my Ugandan friends, both young and old, about this national fascination with Country music and they said “it’s very relaxing” “it’s nice and slow and I can understand the lyrics” and “it’s good music to play when you’re spending time with your girlfriend.” I’ve never been a big fan of country music, but during my 6 hour bus rides to northern Uganda, I catch myself bopping my head and singing along to the Country music’s greatest hits tape that blares from the speakers-and that is something I never thought I would do!

Send children running away in horror: I live in the north central part of Uganda, which is inhabited by the Acholi tribe. The word “Acholi” means black in Luo, which is the language that is spoken here. The Acholi people are very dark skinned and anyone who is online casino not as dark as them (including myself) tends to be called “Muno” which means white person. When I’m walking around town, children always point at me and call out “Muno, Muno” until I turn, smile, and wave at them. There are few children however, who react very differently. For a long time, northern Uganda was socially isolated due to the war and still has few visitors and outsiders compared to the other parts of Uganda. As a result, there are some children, usually those around one to two years in age, who haven”t seen many“Munos”. On more than one occasion, the mere sight of me has sent such children screaming and running away in pure horror. When I asked some Acholi friends why the babies react this way, I was told “you look very different from what they know” and “because of your skin color, they think you are a ghost”. I really like children so being the source of child’s fright and horror is something I never thought I would do!

10 thoughts on “I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD

  1. Love the new blog series concept. Don’t sleep on Kenny Rogers girl and let’s not forget his duets with Dolly Parton. I’ve been a long-time fan thanks to the parents (wonder if it might be an East African thing).

    Funny story about being called a “Muno”. If the Acholi kids think you’re a ghost, imagine their reaction when they see a toubab :-).

    Great blog Melissa – tu as un coeur d’or!

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  2. Yeah, I love the concept too. It’s a great idea. I like country music too, but only on long road trips… I agree that its both relaxing AND entertaining. Melissa, I need to come with you to Gulu one of these days… cause if they react that way to YOU… can you only imagine what those babies would do once they saw ME??

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  3. Hey Melissa!
    Just checked out your new blog entries–love the idea :-)! LOL about you being called a “Muno.” I had a similiar experience, minus the children running away in pure horror ;-), when I studied abroad in Ghana in 1997. We (the study abroad students) were often called “Bruni,” which we were told meant “foreigner” but I really think it meant “white” person as well…anyway, it’s the same concept of we look different so we are foreign in their minds/eyes. I’m sure you’ll continue to have success in Uganda along with many cultural experiences/exchanges.
    Take care,
    ~Tamara

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  4. “You gotta know when to hold dem, know when to fold dem…” I actually miss Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton! They were staples of my visits throughout Africa; spent two days listening to the same Rogers CD in Masai land in Tanzania and almost overdosed 🙂 Do you find that the yound people you work with are into country music as much as adults? How do adults view hip-hop when compared to country music?

    Love the blog! I was called white in Africa and, I don’t understand this one at all, in Haiti I was actually asked if I was Lebanese! Go figure. Perceptions of race, ethnicity and colour are so complexe and mind-bogging.

    Keep writing. Miss you.
    Gaelle

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  5. i’ll put myself on blast and admit that i too appreciate good old kenny rogers and dolly parton. what can i say – good music is good music. maybe you can expand your program to include line-dancing 😉

    “source of a child’s fright and horror” – that’s deep. so sorry my dear. but how horrifying must that be from the perspective of a small child who has NEVER seen anyone with a complexion lighter then their own. i’d be interested to know what the dynamics are among adults when it comes to skin color, features, etc.

    i love this feature. i can’t wait to hear what else you never though you would….

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  6. Hey Melissa,
    I know it’s been forever, but I’ve been reading your blog and it sounds like you’re having a thrilling experience.
    I cracked up over the “Muno” part, and the younger kids running away in terror – I can only imagine your expression the first time it happened 😉
    Best,
    Ro

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  7. I always read your blogs but never leave a comment. This one’s for you. I love how you blogs take one every aspect of this experience…”muno”…lol.

    About the country music, it was only a matter of time. I have to admit Kenny Rogers is my fave. I know some serious lyrics to some of his songs.

    Miss very much. Get back soon.

    G

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