A Lonely Planet slogan says “Do something great for your country: Leave”. Is it a clichéd idea, to talk about the importance of getting to know cultures other than one’s own, breaking bread with a family in the Andes, learning at the feet of a tribe of monks in the Himalayas…? What was I talking about? I think I got carried away on my around-the-world-in-50 stereotypes trip.
Clichés, they exist because they are true, and there is something to be said about the narrow-minded nature of a society whose inhabitants “defend” their own religion by burning others’ holy books and protesting their prayer rooms. Small-mindedness doesn’t apply only to American religious fundamentalists, I would say the same to Ugandan girls who think that dating a whiteboy is somehow the key to wealth, health and future happiness.
Small-minded behaviour does not have to be a big-ticket, shit-on-my-rainbow-parade item. It can be as simple as the American waitress who corrected me after she finally understood my drink order; “Oh! You mean Waaahder”, or asking the new international student what the African National Anthem is (if you see nothing wrong with that statement please stop reading immediately and go back to licking windows).