Blogs » Working Abroad » My Summer Vacation 3/6

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For the longest time, I thought I was the only white in attendance. As the day progressed, however, I did see three others in the crowd. Two of these were older men who appeared to have native wives or girlfriends, and the third was a young white man who looked to be participating in the singsing activities with other students. I saw no other white women in the crowd. My whiteness is generally not a problem here, and tends to encourage people to want to talk to me, an experience I relish. One older woman who spoke little or no English shook my hand and commented on my bilum. I pointed out how much I liked her dress (meri blouse) and we smiled at each other before going on our way. I always feel free to interact with the children, some of whom smile and speak to me, largely in a way that their friends notice their bravery, and others who hide behind their father's legs, embarrassed that a white woman has acknowledged their presence. Only occasionally am I treated with the rudeness of a young man who pushes me out of the way as he passes or unfriendly looks in return to my smile. These I can understand, and do not take personally. Why should they be expected to "like" me or be polite to me simply because I am white?