When asked where by I was from, I’d reply Togo and Benin (as these were the only two destinations I’d ever recognised up to that position) This reply would promptly be achieved with
“Did you hunt lions in the wild?”
“Were you dwelling in a mudhut?”
“Did you have to stroll for miles everyday to get water?”
“How did you get below? Did you have to walk all the way from there? That must have been hard”
No issue how a lot I described my incredibly spoiled metropolis female upbringing in Cotonou, the funds of Benin, I was met with stares of disbelief. For some purpose, the picture my interlocutor experienced in their mind of “Africa” did not feel to match with my lived fact. They would not think me when I reported I’d by no means viewed a lion in my lifestyle and that the initial time I did, was in captivity at the Antwerp Zoo. I’d under no circumstances experienced to wander to gather h2o, because I’d just convert the tap open and there it was, flowing out. I did not dwell in a mudhut, but in a 3 story house with plenty of space to run all around and participate in conceal and seek with my siblings. We had a driver that would acquire us to college and back again, and going to Belgium truly meant a lower in the level of comforts I was applied to back again house.
About the decades, all through my travels, I would and nonetheless go on to get very similar remarks and concerns. On mentioning that I am born in Togo or grew up in Benin, a lot more frequently than not the following reply would be something alongside the traces of
“Ah Africa, I went to (fill in any other African region not remotely shut to my international locations) at the time, it was wonderful.
If in the other direction my conversation husband or wife had mentioned
“I’m from France” and I replied,
“Ah Europe, I’ve been to Prague as soon as, it was wonderful”, I’d rightfully be met with seems to be of bewilderment. But why is it that when it will come to the African continent, that line of wondering is so greatly acknowledged?
Reality is, we know why…