Yes folks, that’s her. Just look up. In the past month, I’ve discovered something about how Africans perceive the way I look. Apparently, I am a hideous human being in their eyes. It’s all rather hilarious actually and started about a month ago when somebody at work slipped me an ad from the newspaper and told me it was something I should consider.
Here is the text of the ad:
Don’t be ugly! Be fat. Look good and presentable. Weight gain powder. Results guaranteed in just one month. Natural food supplement. Don’t look skinny!
Ugandans hate hate hate skinny people. If you don’t have a shelf on your backside and more than a dozen rolls, you’re not doing well here. Most of it, I think, comes from the fact that for a long time, many Ugandans simply didn’t have enough to eat. Being fat is a sign of wealth here.
Another problem is my hair. According to another woman I work with, it’s far too thin. She wanted me to go with her for a special “thickening treatment.” I respectably declined terrified of what might happen if I actually set foot in a Ugandan salon.
Ugandans are also seemingly fond of facial hair on women and warts and moles are seen as goodluck markers. My eyes, which are blue, are seen as being particularly scary. Consider this conversation I had a few weeks ago with a particularly strange fellow in a bar.
“Eiiiiii, woman! Your eyes are scary.”
“Your eyes… they are eyes of the devil.”
“Do you believe in God?”
“Um… no, not exactly.”
“See!!! That is why you have eyes like that. Devil eyes. Terrible.”
Not only that, the way I speak is also a problem. The Ugandan accent, was at first, extremely difficult for me to understand in English. There are have been jokes lately (I’m hoping they’re jokes, and not serious) about the problems with my “speech” on radio. Apparently, I should consider going to speech therapy lessons. Still working on a way around that.
I was out recently with a few people, including the President of Uganda’s son. I was compared to a cow. However, I was later told this is in fact a compliment and that I should take it as such. I have now been invited to the President’s family farm about three hours away to see the cows.
Well, that’s it on me being ugly. Have a good one folks.
(P.S. All of this is said in jest, naturally)