“Muzungo, Muzungu! Giv-a me money!” children call out as they dash toward me. Traveling lightly for a full day of hiking on a ridge in Rwanda, I have no francs on me. However, the kids do not want money; they are taught in school that westerners are rich. Indeed I am, when compared to them, but as little children they are more excited about my white skin than the money I don’t have. Not every day do they see a “muzungu” walk past their isolated hut perched high in the hills.
Huffing and puffing, they encircle me, staring with wide eyes, whispering and giggling to each other, the brave ones daring to reach up and touch my hair. More kids enlarge our procession as we hike; so to pass the time, I teach them to say “What’s up?” and how to “pound it”— two universal American greetings. “Waz s’up!” they reply as all of them reach to pound my outstretched fist.
Homeschooled, 12th grade