My name is not Mzungu!

Mzungu is “foreigner” and every day, month, year that you live in Uganda that is going to be your name for the locals; Mzungu. Being one has its advantages but like everything else, has its downside. The problem is that as you can not easily hide your skin color or the fact that you do not speak the language and therefore being a mzungu, locals (as elsewhere) can take advantage of the situation and charge more for things… sometimes much more. So, knowing a few words in the local language helps a little because that indicates that you are not just a tourist and you are passing, you live there and know more or less about this Mzungu prices.

One day I went to buy chapati with Tatiana, my Colombian friend I met there, and we ordered three. When we got home we saw that they had given us only two and we had paid for three. The seller totally see our mzungu faces and played with it. The week after it we went to buy chapati with the same young guy and he recognized us and he started laughing. We told him that we were living in the city and that we didn’t like to be scammed. We said it in a cool-joking way, he pulled out a coin 500shillings (the cost of one chapati) and gave it to us because he knew he was busted and he was ashamed. We liked that gesture and he became our chapati dealer.

The boda boda also tend to charge more to mzungus but once you know about the price it cost to take you to some place, you just indicated him where to go and right away how much you are going to pay him. Unless you’re really asking for less, in that case they don’t take you.
Also, some locals have helped us not be cheated by traders for just being mzungus. One time we were buying a corn and the woman charged us 1000 shillings and another lady approached us and told us that the real price was 500 shillings, so the woman had to sell the corn at the right prices to the mzungus. haha.
The children in the orphanage where I helped used to call me mzungu at the beginning. And I hated it, so every time I heard one calling me mzungu, I was like “My name is DANIELA, repeat DA NI E LA” and they repeated it. After a while they started to called me by my name.

Mable and me at the back
Mable and me at the back

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