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African Americans Who Settle in Africa

September 13, 2002

As I have recently moved from Los Angeles to East Africa, I read "Coming Home to Africa" (Sept. 10) with great interest. My experiences as an African American woman living in Nairobi, Kenya, with a white American boyfriend are in stark contrast to those described in the article. Aside from the inconveniences of living in a Third World country, I have encountered more discrimination here than I ever did in the U.S. Merely because I am with a white man, Kenyans often assume I am a prostitute.

Once we leave our house, my boyfriend and I are constantly subjected to blatant stares and even sneers. Recently, while driving outside of the city, we were taunted by a group of Kenyan men, one man going so far as to hint that he would throw a large stone at us.

In the malls here, I have encountered many rude proprietors if I am shopping alone. However, if my boyfriend is with me, their attitudes lighten up considerably, and they couldn't be nicer. The only time I've been treated as a "sista" is when a local man tried to sell me a tourist trinket; he said he would give me a discount because we are the same color. While I have met a few black Kenyans who are genuinely nice, I would encourage black Americans to think twice about "coming home."

Kerin McGee

Nairobi, Kenya

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