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Cross-cultural shorts 5: seeing my knees

It’s hot here at the moment. We go to bed sweaty and we wake up that way. So when I’m indoors at home, I wear different clothes to when I’m outside: shorter skirts, or shorts and a T-shirt. When I go out I still wear my longer cotton dresses, but I change as soon as I get home as they are soaked with sweat anyway.

The complication is that lots of people come to our door, from vegetable sellers to council officials. I answered the door the other day in a skirt that sits slightly above the knee. At the door was the lady who collects the monthly council fees. We’ve chatted a fair bit in the past. She’s a Christian and had invited me to her church.

short-skirt

As she filled in the receipt for me, she kept stealing glances at my knees so I figured I’d better explain. I started out by saying I was dressed like an mzungu (white person) but this didn’t fly: after all I’m a Christian! The heat was not an excuse either. She was finally mollified when I told her that it’s only inside I wear such scandalous clothes and when I go out I wear longer skirts.

Categories: Tanzania Woman Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.

2 replies

    1. He also wears more clothes when we go out! Dar is so hot I’m allowed to not wrap my child up like we live in the Arctic. But people are often very concerned about his skin getting burnt – they’re shocked when I tell them about Australia’s sun, and intrigued when I try to explain sunscreen.

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