Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bits and pieces

I’ve been thinking about race and racism lately. Although there are a number of white people in the Bamenda area, it still often happens that I am the only white person in a meeting or the only white person in a street. As Joseph Harker said: "Some "non-racists" like to pretend that racial differences don't exist - they even proudly claim not to notice skin colour. This is manifest nonsense. Purporting to be "colour blind" is as ludicrous as suggesting you wouldn't notice a person's gender. What's important is what you do, not what you see." Yes, I do stand out. However, I haven’t been abused racially at all. The occasional child has said “Hey, white man”, acknowledging the self-evident fact that my skin colour is different to theirs. And I have been asked to pay ‘white man’s prices’ from time to time, because being white is seen as being automatically rich. Nevertheless I have had some small insight into what a black, Asian or Chinese person might feel in a North Wales town.

Last night I dreamed of ... sausage and mash. Thanks to Steve for putting that thought into my mind. It just won’t leave me now. I’ve also been thinking of cereal with fresh milk, of angel delight and ice cream. There are plenty of good foods here, but sometimes one longs for the taste of the familiar. On Friday I bought a pack of digestive biscuits, in a bilingual Arabic and English box, and manufactured in Dubai. They really are delicious.

On three occasions today people have approached me, started up a conversation, then asked for money. Tonight while I was eating at Sam’s just near the Baptist centre, a lady of, perhaps, fifty, came in and sat at my table. She told me her story then asked for money to buy water. As it happened I had 200 francs in small change in my pocket, then nothing but a huge note. She accepted the contribution and left. How should I react? Suggestions, please!
A couple of random images:
1. Children lining up to go into school
2. The seeds of the palm tree


llysmeirion said...

Am paosting this for Gill as she is still having problems leaving her comments:

Hi Bill,

I did write to you last weekend, spent ages boring you stiff with news from Blighty. Then I forgot my password and it was all to no avail! However, I'm back now and want you to know that your desire to see the mountains of your home, rendered me tearful.

They told me before I went to live abroad that something would happen to me every day, simply by being a "foreigner". It was true and it seems it still holds true, when I read your eventful blog.

Is that a Spider Monkey in the photo?

I have also tried to ascertain the name of the plant in your photo, but apart from learning that over 2,000 plant species are know to be effective in cancer treatment, I didn't find the name of this plant.

Most impressed with the crisp white shirt! And they say the camera never lies!!!!!!

What a fantastic experience, I would imagine it's mixed emotions - a totally different life from that in Deganwy eh?

Looking forward to being regaled with all your adventures on your return in Eee by gum country.

Lots of love


Bill Chapman said...

Hi Gill
Thanks for taking the trouble - more than once - to send a message, I washed the shirt myself!

Take care of yourself and of Gaz.