Friday, 8 June 2007


In this region of Africa a tourist is generally referred to as Mzungu (White Face). Here in Eastern Zambia the road is lined with villages, and the children excitedly call out "Mzungu....Mzungu!". I recall an incident when I suddenly came across a small boy at the roadside. He scrambled up the embankment in a cloud of dust (just in case the Mzungu still held some hidden danger), and called out "MAAZUUNGU-ZUUNGU-ZUUNGU!". For the next few hundred metres there were heads popping out of the bush along the road (tall and short). Another favourite greeting here is "How-are-you?". So sometimes I'm struggling uphill in the heat, trying to respond with a wave or "I'm fine, how are you?". Often the little ones get so excited they forget what to shout, and only manage to utter some unintelligible sound. Therefore, on occasion I've found myself offering a half-hearted wave to a bleating goat. In Zambian slang 1000 Kwachas is called one PIN. Occasionally a beggar will ask "give me PIN". I imagine that in such an encounter some ignorant Mzungu promptly handed over his pen. Now, in that village, the children were all asking me for pens.

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