12 Observations of White People


Davis Byamukama shy with a member of the Bazungu race; photo by Ziva Skrlovnik

Davis Byamukama shy with a member of the Bazungu race; photo by Ziva Skrlovnik

I’m gonna start by telling you why I know the Bazungu*, the whites.

When I was young I wished to work with foreigners.

Bazungu love flowers; photo from Edirisa archives

Bazungu love flowers; photo from Edirisa archives

When I was 12 years old in 2002 I joined school at Bufuka Primary School at Lake Bunyonyi. It was difficult for me to speak English because Dad and Mum don’t speak a word in English. After eight years of primary school – normally it is seven years but I repeated Primary Six due to poor performance – Headmaster Stanley called me and my friend Patrick at break time 10:30am to his office. He asked us if we could manage canoeing to the other side of Bunyonyi, to Kyevu. Actually it was my interest. Headmaster Stanley wanted Patrick and I to work as freelancers for Edirisa Canoe Trekking. ’’Yes’’ we answered.

I joined secondary school at Lake Bunyonyi Christian Community school for “0” level studies in 2010 and worked with Edirisa as a “canoe boy”. In November 2013 I came back home for the holiday and on 23 November 2013 I heard good news: Edirisa on Lake Bunyonyi want an employee…..!

By that time I had a connection with the Director who founded Edirisa as I helped him get a tree at Kyabakasa for making three canoes. After a job interview they informed me to come for work on 8 December 2013. We were four boys interviewed but I was the successful candidate! I went home with a smiley face. I stayed with volunteers for a couple of months, safely. Then one of the coordinators known as Nash Barrett who works in Kigali asked me to pay him a visit there and I felt excited. These days I guide tourists on the Gorilla Highlands Trails … big promotion!

What I have learned about Bazungu:

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii from Bazungu; photo by Jane Mulungi

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii from Bazungu; photo by Jane Mulungi

1. White people or “Bazungu” are very interesting to work with or to share with! To my thinking its like we are same but different colours. One of our volunteers from America surprised us when he sacrificed himself working as a night watchman for our place. He did it very well to the extent of outcompeting night watchmen we have in Africa. Also another volunteer works on social media but when we have many clients she is amazing chatting with them and giving them service!

2. Girls from Germany are beautiful for the Rasta men of Uganda in terms of marriage and projects in the countryside. Rasta men aim at visiting them in Germany and staying there.

3. Bazungu like to smoke more than Ugandans. They must be having such a gene coming from their grandparents, or maybe they are influenced by their groups. Ugandans like to smoke in evening hours to sleep better, or when they are stressed.

4. Bazungu like tracking mountain gorillas. Ugandans would rather buy a goat or a sheep instead of paying big money to visit gorillas for a few hours.

Brave Muzungu does it with cold water; photo by Jess Murphy

Brave Muzungu does it with cold water; photo by Jess Murphy

5. Bazungu like swimming a lot and where there is a lake or a big river, swimming is what they can’t miss. In their culture, both women and men swim together. Ugandans, especially women, feel shy about swimming.

6. Bazungu are used to winter coldness but when they reach Africa they become allergic to cold shower….! Instead of bathing most Bazungu like swimming without soap… They just swim and spend a week in one trouser and shirt.

7. Bazungu like sharing information. When they are at a restaurant they like to tell each other what they have seen and where they have travelled. If they see something interesting they will tell their friends to see it too. If a Ugandan talks like that, people will say that the person cannot keep any secrets and should not be trusted with any information.

8. Bazungu manage time, “keep time”. When they say at 7:00am then it means that exact time while Ugandans would come at 8:30 or at 9:00. If you don’t respect Bazungu’s time they will say you cannot be trusted and that you are doing other jobs instead of their thing.

9. Some Bazungu travel on a budget and claim that “they don’t have enough money”. They will not go to a big hotel but eat food on the road. Instead of a pizza they will eat a rolex.

10. Bazungu kiss and hug in public…! Ugandans do that in their “private rooms” because women fear they would be called prostitutes if they are seen.

Two happy Bazungu; photo by Ziva Skrlovnik

Two happy Bazungu; photo by Ziva Skrlovnik

11. White men don’t like fat ladies even when Ugandans like them. If a Ugandan lady is fat but has a big job earning like USh 300,000 ($90) she can’t fail to find a boyfriend.

12. Bazungu love internet so much because of Facebook, Twitter, Google, e-mails and other social media. Instead of calling somebody they will just chat with them on social media and save money. Ugandans like to be on the “Zero Facebook” package where you just send messages but cannot see videos and most pictures but Bazungu like do download.

* Bazungu is plural of Muzungu (also known as Mujungu in the Gorilla Highlands)

text: Davis Byamukama

Watch and read more about: Davis teaching g-nut cooking | VolunteeringGorilla Highlands Trails

Muzungu makes a very serious face; photo by Kelly Stoner

Muzungu makes a very serious face; photo by Kelly Stoner

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