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Johnny went to a supermarket to do his grocery shopping. He got rice, tomato, meat and all the necessary ingredients for his tomato stew. He then went to the toiletry section to get some toilet paper.
There were different brands (as usual), but one in particular caught his attention because the design of the package around it wasn’t like the rest. He had a little hunch but he still went closer to take a look. “Yes, it is exactly what I thought it would be.”, he thinks. “It’s us again. It’s always us“.(Sighs).
And yes, just as he thought, it was a campaign to raise funds with the picture of two little African kids. “I wonder if they or their families even have the slightest idea that their faces are on toilet paper”, he wondered. He was so shocked that he even forgot the name of the brand, but the image was stuck in his head forever.
And also, whether it was on TV, or on ads on the streets, it was always the same thing: “help the poor Africans”. Differents ads for different issues, hunger, malaria, death while giving birth, lack of water, there was always something somewhere.
It’s not that Johnny is against campaigns to raise funds for needy people. It is just that ever since he went abroad, he, Johnny, was treated as a needy person because of his African origins. There was even a time where some ladies wanted to give him shoes out of the blue, or other times where the security people in the supermarket watched him closely as if he was coming to steal something. Meanwhile, back in his native country, his father was a bank manager, his mother was a doctor, and he never lacked anything. He went to primary school, middle school and high school just like other kids in other places of the world. He just chose to travel abroad to enrich his experience in life and open new horizons, and paid his expensive trip all by himself (sponsored by his parents).
At first, he didn’t really pay attention because he didn’t imagine that there could be such an “after effect” from such a noble initiative. But, the more years he spent abroad and the more people he came into contact with, he noticed that what he had on his mind as “Africa” wasn’t the same perspective others had. Whenever they asked where he was from, he would say the name of his country and they would give him a look as in : “what, where did you say?”; he would then explain that he was from Africa and they would then understand. The worst part was when they nodded their head in compassion with this look in their eyes “Oh, poor you, you must have had a rough life.” Or, others looked down on him for no apparent reason.
Johnny didn’t understand immediately; but, afterwards, he did. In foreign medias, Africa was internationally known as “the face of poverty and suffering”, the black sheep that everyone else took pity on or wanted to avoid as if it brought bad luck. Of course, there were also people who knew better or were genuinely kind (not taking pity). But, compared to the majority… it was an insignificant portion.
To be continued….