Hello Mister Mzungu Oyibo! – JadedAid Card Stories
When I first arrived in Nigeria’s Niger Delta for my Kiva Fellowship and walked around the local market, people would yell, “Oyibo! Oyibo!” when they saw me. In my naivety, I thought it meant something like “Hello,” in the local language.
I was new and I figured that learning languages from random strangers was one way to get in with the locals, so I started saying it to my colleagues each morning… “Oyibo!”
After a few curious looks, I asked if I was pronouncing it correctly. I like being precise in my diction. That’s when I was told that “Oyibo” is a Nigerian Pidgin word used to refer to white people.
Oops! They were yelling “Whitey” at me.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m now in East Africa. Each time I go on a field visit, kids run along side our arriving fleet of Land Cruisers yelling, “Mzungu! Mzungu!” This time, I am a seasoned expat, and I know exactly what the term means, so I wear it with pride.
I start introducing myself to the children as, “Mr. Mzungu Oyibo,” to the great joy of my African co-workers.
How many times has someone yelled “Hello, Mister!” at you in the local language? And what’s the phrase they use? I bet there is a term for us in every language we work in – hence the “Hello, Mister!” JadedAid Card.
JadedAid Cards Are Back in Stock!
Share the joy’s of the “Hello Mister” card with a new JadedAid card game and matching t-shirt!
We were able to rescue a limited number of card games from Amazon Canada, where they languished unsold for 2 years. Apparently gentle Canadians are just not that into open mockery of
CIDA, DFATD, I mean Global Affairs Canada. Their loss and your gain!