Having lived in Uganda for all of my life until now, one would say i had not been culturally exposed. While i went to multi cultural and racial schools, nothing could have prepared for me for the cultural shock i had when i came to New York. You must understand though, our country is one of the most culturally diverse, there about 50 tribes and even more languages and i have seen White and Asian people before and interacted with them so i was confident i would be just fine. Moving from a place where my skin colour is the majority, i had no insecurity or thoughts about my skin colour, i was always just me.
However, the moment i got onto the plane from Brussels to New York, i started to feel really different, there weren’t many “me-s” around. I was getting a few stares too, not mean ones, just inquisitive ones. The ones i used to give foreigners i saw back home, with questions in my mind like; where are they from? what’s it like where they come from? what’s their story? why are they here? Looks like that. I was suddenly the black girl .
Moving to New York, the first month was the hardest, i still felt out of place and an outsider but people were being nice, some inquisitive about Africa in general, a few people would not get what i was saying some times (because of the accent and pronunciation) and the form of dressing was a bit interesting (Uganda is a little more conservative). Others were fascinated by my braids and thought it was my real hair (i wish!!)
I like New York though, it’s very culturally diverse, the highest percentage of people living here aren’t even from here which is more comforting for me. I also appreciate the diversity in couples, i feel like i have seen almost everything ( white&black, Asian&white, Asian&black, black&black, white&white). It puts a smile on my face every time i see a mixed race couple, the gap is being bridged, we aren’t there yet but we have come so far as well.
I also had the opportunity to do a photo shoot for my extremely talented friend Rand Jarallah, she’s amazing . We wanted to show that there’s two sides to everyone in the sense that even though am black, there’s so much to me . There’s my colour and background but there’s also me, Esther Ndagire.
Hugs and Hearts