When I tell people that I’m going to work with EWB in Uganda this summer, I tend to get weird looks. I think that’s probably because images like the one below are what come to mind for a lot of people.
There are entire blogs dedicated to sharing photos of privileged white girls, trying to “understand” what it means to live in poverty while taking loads of photos of themselves “changing the lives of African children”. This seems to be what people expect from me as a white, middle-class girl in university who’s going to work in Africa. Yuck.
I am not a hero. I will not be saving anyone. I might not even be helpful to anyone. I don’t know any Ugandan people yet, but I’m guessing that they don’t want to be portrayed as exotic, or “other”, or helpless, or dependent on the white girl’s charity.
I believe that there are a lot of misconceptions about poverty, African people, and development work in general. I’m hoping to challenge this yucky legacy, and show many different sides of Uganda and the people I meet there… so don’t expect weekly pictures of me “saving” starving black babies from the clutches of militant kidnappers or lions. I would rather seek out empowered and optimistic people and share their stories… plus, I probably wouldn’t be brave enough to fight lions anyways.