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PRIVACY – A FIRST WORLD EXPECTATION

March 24, 2011

Like being the movie premiere

There is no such thing as privacy in backwoods Africa.  If I needed to change clothes, I had four little kids staring at me from outside my tent.  If I wanted to bathe, I had half dozen people keeping me company even when I signaled it was time for me to dig the sand out of my bottoms which I prefer to remove when taking a bucket shower. If I needed to pee on a road trip, anyone passing on the roadside would not even think about looking away but rather I was expected to wave and make polite small talk while going about my business.  If I wanted to read a book alone?  Forget that. At one point, I counted an audience of thirty people on Nyangai Island watching me read.

I finally had to ask why the fascination as it was just comical to be of such interest.  Magdalene of Nyangai said it was because they found white people so beautiful and they weren’t used to seeing anyone from the outside.  Call it third world television.

Momo & friends keeping me company while I attempt to put on underwear

Nick & Tanja trying to read with an audience

Got a pee? Want company?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Noah permalink
    March 28, 2011 7:50 pm

    The old documentary series “Connections” had a great bit about how the proliferation of chimneys around the 13th century changed attitudes toward privacy in northern Europe. When everyone had to sleep around one big fire in the center of a giant hall if they expected to stay warm, privacy for wasn’t practical. With chimneys, dividing a big building into a bunch of little rooms with chimneys in their common walls made separate bedrooms more efficient, and privacy for sleeping and sex quickly became the norm.

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