Essays

Africans are Different: What I Learned in the Peace Corps

Welcome to Senegal.

Try to ignore the remaining vestiges of liberalism and Christianity in this young woman’s essay, and read it for the insights she shares on the vastly different nature of the African mentality (which she sometimes mistakenly attributes to Islam).

by Karin McQuillan

THREE WEEKS AFTER college, I flew to Senegal, West Africa, to run a community center in a rural town. Life was placid, with no danger, except to your health. That danger was considerable, because it was, in the words of the Peace Corps doctor, “a fecalized environment.”

In plain English: s— is everywhere. People defecate on the open ground, and the feces is blown with the dust — onto you, your clothes, your food, the water. He warned us the first day of training: do not even touch water. Human feces carries parasites that bore through your skin and cause organ failure.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that a few decades later, liberals would be pushing the lie that Western civilization is no better than a third-world country. Or would teach two generations of our kids that loving your own culture and wanting to preserve it are racism.

Last time I was in Paris, I saw a beautiful African woman in a grand boubou have her child defecate on the sidewalk next to Notre Dame Cathedral. The French police officer, ten steps from her, turned his head not to see.

I have seen. I am not turning my head and pretending unpleasant things are not true.

Senegal was not a hellhole. Very poor people can lead happy, meaningful lives in their own cultures’ terms. But they are not our terms. The excrement is the least of it. Our basic ideas of human relations, right and wrong, are incompatible.

As a twenty-one-year-old starting out in the Peace Corps, I loved Senegal. In fact, I was euphoric. I quickly made friends and had an adopted family. I relished the feeling of the brotherhood of man. People were open, willing to share their lives and, after they knew you, their innermost thoughts.

The longer I lived there, the more I understood: It became blindingly obvious that the Senegalese are not the same as us. The truths we hold to be self-evident are not evident to the Senegalese. How could they be? Their reality is totally different. You can’t understand anything in Senegal using American terms.

Take something as basic as family. Family was a few hundred people, extending out to second and third cousins. All the men in one generation were called “father.” Senegalese are Muslim, with up to four wives. Girls had their clitorises cut off at puberty. (I witnessed this, at what I thought was going to be a nice coming-of-age ceremony, like a bat mitzvah or confirmation.) Sex, I was told, did not include kissing. Love and friendship in marriage were Western ideas. Fidelity was not a thing. Married women would have sex for a few cents to have cash for the market.

What I did witness every day was that women were worked half to death. Wives raised the food and fed their own children, did the heavy labor of walking miles to gather wood for the fire, drew water from the well or public faucet, pounded grain with heavy hand-held pestles, lived in their own huts, and had conjugal visits from their husbands on a rotating basis with their co-wives. Their husbands lazed in the shade of the trees.

Yet family was crucial to people there in a way Americans cannot comprehend.

The Ten Commandments were not disobeyed — they were unknown. The value system was the exact opposite. You were supposed to steal everything you can to give to your own relatives. There are some Westernized Africans who try to rebel against the system. They fail.

We hear a lot about the kleptocratic elites of Africa. The kleptocracy extends through the whole society. My town had a medical clinic donated by international agencies. The medicine was stolen by the medical workers and sold to the local store. If you were sick and didn’t have money, drop dead. That was normal.

So here in the States, when we discovered that my 98-year-old father’s Muslim health aide from Nigeria had stolen his clothes and wasn’t bathing him, I wasn’t surprised. It was familiar.

In Senegal, corruption ruled, from top to bottom. Go to the post office, and the clerk would name an outrageous price for a stamp. After paying the bribe, you still didn’t know it if it would be mailed or thrown out. That was normal.

One of my most vivid memories was from the clinic. One day, as the wait grew hotter in the 110-degree heat, an old woman two feet from the medical aides — who were chatting in the shade of a mango tree instead of working — collapsed to the ground. They turned their heads so as not to see her and kept talking. She lay there in the dirt. Callousness to the sick was normal.

Americans think it is a universal human instinct to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s not. It seems natural to us because we live in a Bible-based Judeo-Christian culture.

We think the Protestant work ethic is universal. It’s not. My town was full of young men doing nothing. They were waiting for a government job. There was no private enterprise. Private business was not illegal, just impossible, given the nightmare of a third-world bureaucratic kleptocracy. It is also incompatible with Senegalese insistence on taking care of relatives.

All the little stores in Senegal were owned by Mauritanians. If a Senegalese wanted to run a little store, he’d go to another country. The reason? Your friends and relatives would ask you for stuff for free, and you would have to say yes. End of your business. You are not allowed to be a selfish individual and say no to relatives. The result: Everyone has nothing.

The more I worked there and visited government officials doing absolutely nothing, the more I realized that no one in Senegal had the idea that a job means work. A job is something given to you by a relative. It provides the place where you steal everything to give back to your family.

I couldn’t wait to get home. So why would I want to bring Africa here? Non-Westerners do not magically become American by arriving on our shores with a visa.

We have the right to choose what kind of country to live in. I was happy to donate a year of my life as a young woman to help the poor Senegalese. I am not willing to donate my country.

* * *

Source: White Biocentrism

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SidneyTravon MartinbergPaul HilfSic SemperAndover 8 Recent comment authors
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Travon
Travon

The taint-of-black undermines civilization everywhere. The chaos in Brazilian favellas is an example. And yet liberals want us to equate that culture with traditional white European cultures. http://www.latimes.com/world/brazil/la-fg-ff-brazil-crime-20150522-story.html

Andover 8
Andover 8

“…a nice coming of age ceremony, like a bat mitzvah.” Sound more like this article was written by a jew, especially with using the “judeo-christian” terminology. Aside from the laughable assertion that these people can be a success “in their own way”, everything in this article matches perfectly with a book I read years ago called, Racism, Guilt, Self-Deceit & Self-Hatred: a philosopher’s hard-headed look at the dark continent, by an author who lived and worked in several African countries for years. Stealing was absolutely a way of life for black Africans, and there was no loyalty with them. A person could have employed a black housekeeper for years when all of a sudden, she’d begin stealing from the household where she worked for no reason and for things she… Read more »

Travon Martinberg
Travon Martinberg

Excellent review!

Sic Semper
Sic Semper

What is funny is that the author attributes our world to a “judeo-christian” understanding. Anyone familiar with the “judeo” part of that understands that like the Senegalese, they do not live by the golden rule. Deception, theft and genocide is practiced openly against those outside their “family” and is codified in their talmud, studied by their coke bottle be-speckled rabbis who go blind studying the talmudic print and applying it to all dealing with the gentiles whom are regarded as unclean meat. Jews share so much with the equally revolting gypsies because they have so much in common that is easily observed by anyone without guilt and propaganda covering their eyes. Our modern world is the result of the Ethnic European People. Our work ethic, intelligence and creativity coupled with… Read more »

Paul Hilf
Paul Hilf

Should be “required reading” for all Black studies. I used to embrace the sentiment that … “black studies” is just a bunch of sh**. Now I realize that not only was I right :) but that was just the introduction !
So many more ‘chapters’ to the topic ! Makes a joke of the pathetic, misguided virtue signalling whites who have no problem wasting their time on a group so largely devoid of virtue.

Sidney
Sidney

This story is well written, and quite a nice read. I’m a Kenyan and I always relish a chance to learn about other Africans through stories and articles since I’m not a big traveller. It’s unfair however to decide that Africans behave in a certain manner from a scenario observed in a Senegalese village. I know for sure, money or not, no one will die outside a hospital door because the medical officers are too engrossed in the personal affairs to care. Also men work. Infact men that dont work are found unattractive. Unless maybe you’re a rich man or a chief or an elder. Kenya alone has 42 tribes. Africa as a whole has it in hundreds. What may be seen in one Sengalese town may not be happening… Read more »