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Fishbowl

August 12, 2012

I have sometimes joked that I am famous in Africa. Of course, I’m not really famous there, I just FEEL famous. As a white woman in a village, you become accustomed to the people around you knowing everything about you, whether from gossip or observation, everyone seems to know when and where you travel, what you ate for lunch, and even what kind of underwear you wear. Peace Corps volunteers call this phenomenon “the fishbowl”–we live side by side, but you know everything about my life and I know little about yours. When I was a PCV, it was just part of the deal.

This time, it was a little more…grating.

Part of the difference, I suppose, was that I used to live among people who, well, really didn’t matter to me–if they questioned my lifestyle, it was simply a difference of opinion. This time, the people watching me, and adjudicating, were family. They were invested. If they didn’t really like the way I kept house or spoke with my children, it mattered. A little.

So among the “I’m hungry, mom” and the “the flies in the choo make me not pee, mom” and the “can we have pizza for lunch?” stuff I was dealing with, I was also fending off the “Is that how they carry water in America?” and the “you going to bathe” the raw power of the stares. The stares. Always having eyes on you….

Anyway, after a week on display, I needed to get someplace I was a little more anonymous, so we went for a swim in Kisumu and a little re-charging (really, the boys had me plug in their gameboys asap). The hot shower didn’t hurt, either.

Searching for hippos or crocodiles in Lake Victoria

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ganie permalink
    August 27, 2012 1:43 pm

    I especially like the “hippos & crocodiles” photo. Binoculars are a great invention.

  2. Deborah Pulley permalink
    September 3, 2012 8:46 pm

    vacation within vacation

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