but you guys all look the same

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.




Filed under living in africa, slightly humorous or amusing?

6 responses to “but you guys all look the same

  1. David Robinson

    They could tell you spent much time in china…Those kids are amazing!

  2. Maybe they have heard you lived in China for a while and speak some Mandarin?

  3. Either the above two comments or they see you squinting as you run and gasping for air? LOL

  4. Wow! That is one I would not have expected! Maybe you look like that basketball player…

  5. JMF

    Maybe you had bad breath and they based their profile upon that more so than the size of your eye opening.

  6. A co-worker vacationed in Viet Nam just a few months ago. His tour guide told him, “You white guys all look alike to me.” I guess it’s all perspective.

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