I remember telling Michael, Botswanian Michael as we called him- hey hey not beyond my wrist- when he would shake my hand- poor boy, that must have been so offensive. But I was not fully to blame for such a view point, I had just landed from a society, which still adheres to the code of boys on one side, girls on the other, even in public meetings by the chief, no no now, we mustn’t get too close; yet S.T.Is and Bastards abound, everywhere.
Hear I was, in the midst of Africans, the easy going Naija people who’ll call you brother on their first meeting, the happy beer loving Botswana people who like to hang out most of the time, the friendly Mugambe people, the smart- ly dressed Tanzanians, the Waswahili from the Kenyan Coast, from Oman, the curly haired Sudanese, now northeners, the Indonesians from Florence, the Tamil, and the Stiff Kenyans.
Ivy, from Uganda would tell me- Kenyans are so stiff, you’re like robots, why so serious all the time, fear, perhaps, no no now don’t get too close I don’t want you coming over to borrow salt and chai whenever you feel like. I’m from the highlands, hugs are a new education.
So Michael would shake my hand and give hugs all around. A month later I was a changed woman.
Last week I met my friends, a couple fro long ago and on impulse I wanted to jump in with open arms, but then it clicked, it’s a cheek to cheek greeting for the woman( Man! I hate those!), and a firm handshake for the man, with a slight eye contact for acknowledgement.
I am re-learning what I re-learnt and this time, honestly I feel like bursting out of this town and never coming back , end up somewhere on Ogingo Island or Kamchatka, where people hug and nod to Lady Gaga’s Poker face.
Things I have to remember:
If you have boy friends over- you are a prostitute
If you wear jeans – you are a prostitute
If you wear make up – you are a prostitute
Hug men- you are a prostitute
Wear a short skirt- you’re a prostitute
Wear a long skirt- your religion tells you to wear long skirts
The middle ages I tell you.