July 10, 2010

Oyibo Alert

Occasionally I get stopped on the street by people who want to guess where I’m from. Guesses have so far included Germany and France; “because of your haircut,” the man explained. But the thing I hear most is just an exclamation of “Oyibo!” from a passing motorcyclist or someone sticking their head out of a bus window. It’s essentially just an observation: “White person!” The neighborhoods I frequent so rarely see a white face that passersby, my hostess has explained, are just shouting their surprise. But I hear it so much—easily an Oyibo! a minute, if not more—that it sounds almost like a greeting. “White person!” To which I respond, “E ka ro! And good day to you too!”

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