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Eating Like A White Man - a short story by A.B.King

   Once upon a time in a place called Nigeria in the continent of Africa, there lived a nice little Christian boy named Chinonso. His father died of a heart attack when staring at a mountain of bills and Chinonso had lived ever since with his mother who successfully disassociated herself from her late husband and also told all his debtors that they and her don’t have any business, and if they want their money back they should follow her late husband to the other side and ask him to pay them back their money.   Chinonso was close to his Aunty on his mother’s side. She always talked to him about Jesus and also loved to tell Chinonso beautiful tales of all the wonderful things that happen in the country of the white man.   Rumors and facts supported the claim that his Aunty had spent a few years in America before she was deported for over staying her visa. But interestingly, rumors and facts also seemed to support that idea that she had never been to America in her life but like most Africans she had spent too many hours under the hot sun dreaming of what it would be like to be in the land of beauty & opportunity.   Amongst the many ‘white – people – things’ that Chinonso’s Aunty taught him, she taught him about proper table manners – the American version of table manners which is very different from the African version.   Chinonso stuck to his Aunty’s teachings and he embraced it because his mind wasn’t racially clouded and he could see the logic and common sense in proper American etiquette which originated from the British.   Chinonso was at a friend’s children’s party he was invited to one day and for some reasons, maybe it was because they had stayed and played for a long time, instead of serving jollof rice and chicken, they served fufu and soup with chicken.   After they had prayed and everyone was about to descend on their food, Chinonso asked for a fork and a knife. Everybody was shocked. Did he just ask for cutlery?   Chinonso asked for a fork and a knife again, and everybody bust out in laughter.   You see, in Nigeria, everyone eats fufu and soup with their bare hands (the same goes for garri and soup). They wash or rinse their hands out first and then they pinch a part of the fufu, roll the part they pinched into a ball, then they dip it inside the soup to really get the soup around the ball in their hand, and then they swallow. This process is continued until there is nothing left to pinch.   Today however, Chinonso was going to go outside the status quo for the first time in public.They gave him the cutlery he asked for but they also spent the whole day making fun of and saying that his has forgotten who he is so he is trying to eat like a white man. They laughed and laughed and laughed but they soon stopped laughing when they began to feel their stomachs ache. They went from laughing in jest to crying in pain.   They had all played very roughly in all sort of places before they washed their hands in water without using soup and had begun eating with their bare hands. Thus, there were still germs on their hands. Only Chinonso who washed his hands with them but thankfully also used cutlery didn’t fall sick.   We must not let any bias no matter how strong or weak it is prevent us from getting to know the person underneath the skin or sharing our knowledge with them or accepting theirs if it is beneficial.
The End.

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