Sunday, 20 February 2011
Saturday, 19 February 2011
Thought I’d share a big cultural difference with you, one you may already be aware of but was brought home to me in a funny way this week. I was in the car with three Tanzanian colleagues (two men and a lady) and another missionary. The man in the middle put on his seat belt, which was rather loose on him, and said (loosely translated), “This belt is for Mama!” Mama is sitting in the front, and is somewhat on the large side. Can you imagine making a comment like that in England? What would the lady’s reaction be?!! However, they all considered it a perfectly acceptable joke, and if anything Mama took it as a complement. Here, when you describe people, you describe them by their size (the fat one, the tall one etc.) and to describe them as thin is something of an insult. My colleagues told me that if a lady is well rounded, people may even joke that she shouldn’t do hard work so that she doesn’t lose weight! As a nutritionist, I can’t say that fat is good, though it is better to be a bit overweight and fit than thin and unfit, however I wonder if our society can learn something from this attitude by becoming a little less obsessed with what we conceive as the perfect figure.