image courtesy of lovesites.com
People are always yelling at me during my morning runs. And I’ve heard a lot of things spoken my direction while I exercise. But a few days ago, I heard a new one. There was a group of four kids who started screaming as I turned a corner into their line of sight. That’s not unusual — I’d generally expect them to be chanting, “Mzungu! Mzungu! Mzungu!” which, roughly translated, means, “Whitey! Whitey! Whitey!” But these four were screaming something (which is in my mind completely) different:
“Mchina! Mchina! Mchina!”
Yes, Mchina is the Swahili word for a Chinese person. And, yes, I am still 6’4″, 200 pounds, and white with brown hair.
If you’re interested in other things Tanzanian children say to me while running (and how I’d like to respond), see this post: tanzanian kids say the darndest things.