I met Mama Aida and the rest of my family on Wednesday. I exchanged introductions with all eight of my new brothers and sisters as they proceeded to make my bed and unpack, unfold, and hang all the contents of my suitcase. Calling them hospitable would be an understatement.
While all of this is going on my new 22 year old sister, Florence, looks at me and asks, "Are you a Negro?" I think for a couple seconds and give a hesitant yes. "You look like Obama! You Negro!" By this point I'm in mild shock. I haven't heard the word Negro used in years... and never have I been asked whether or not I was one. This has been my most awkward but hilarious social interactions so far. Brian (my roommate) and I are the 17th and 18th students my family has hosted and I am the first Black American, or Negro according to Florence. Many Ugandans never even see Black American except on TV.
While all the students were filing into the DC airport I realized I was the only Black student out of 43. 42 Mzungus (the Ugandan term for white person) and me. My experience will be very different than theirs', when I walk to school from my house nobody stares, I actually feel like I fit in everywhere I go, and my family is very happy and proud to have a Negro live with them for a change.
Tomorrow I leave at 5AM for Rwanda to learn about the genocide of 1994... It will be a very intense 10 days. I will blog all about it (along with bucket bathing and eating Matooki) when I return.