Sunday, July 10

Rollin' Like a Celebrity

The song "Beverly Hills" by Weezer has been in my head since arriving in this tiny rural town where electricity and beer are hard to come by.  Not because of the distinct contrast between Mbita and the famous American zipcode but because of the line "rollin' like a celebrity".  That is how I feel every day here:  like a D-list celebrity.  Like Willian Shatner.  Hear me out.  I'm going to replace the word musungu or "white person" with "William Shatner" for demonstration (bonus - both of us are Canadian). 

I suppose Willy isn't exactly D-List but he is a bit of a joke in the celeb community.  When we roll into town we get noticed. Everyone seems to know who we are.  People call out to us as we walk by but the tone varies from awe (less common) "William Shatner...oooo!" to Circus freak "pssst - look, it is William SHATner" to taunting contempt "WILLIAM SHATNER!  hahahah....."

People run up to shake our hands when we are walking down the street and sometimes giggle, run away or stand awestruck in our presence "Amosi/How are you?" met by crickets "Ber?/Good?" followed by running away. 

Many people see that we are William Shatner and equate that with money* so they try to buddy up in hopes that some of that would transfer to them ("Can I have your shoes/camera/soda/insert my item here?")**.  We quickly lose many friends when they realize we will not be giving our items away. 

And, like William, a few people in the right demographic ADORE us.  They want to be seen with us, want their photos taken with us, suck up to us and ask to spend more time with us.  They pull out all the stops to show off for us.

Oh, the life of a "celebrity".

*People in Kenya often have an interesting idea of what Canada is like.  For example - that everyone is rich and the government gives us all houses.  I put it in a term they could understand and things seemed less rosy in Canada.  When I get back to Canada I will have no job and a debt equivalent to 2.5million Kenyan Shillings.  Oh.....2.5 million sounds daunting to people that usually make less than 10 000 shillings a month.

**We were on a small island on lake Victoria yesterday waiting for the boat to take us back to Mbita.  We started a conversation with a local pediatrician about his clinic (including a lesson on why NOT to cut children's tongues to help them talk).  He gave us a tour of the clinic and then inquired if we knew of any Canadian women who were looking for a husband - anyone for him to marry.  He had land to offer.  I instructed him to check the internet.  The offer still stands if you are interested.  50 year old doctor with his own clinic, patch of maize and a good heart seeking Canadian woman.

1 comment:

Heather E. said...

Both hilarious and insightful. Loves it.