TRAVEL ESSAY by ARNIS PROKOPOVICS, IKAST BRANDE-GYMNASIUM
When you see Tanzanians living in poorer areas with their dilapidated buildings, huge buckets on their heads filled with fruit and water and their unhygienic conditions - we often think of how sad it is for them and thus we get guilty.
But in reality they have something that we do not have: A lush culture with smile and joy, hospitality, and their calm behaviour and loving nature.
Often, we Danes see the world in a materialistic way, where everything transforms into statistics and numbers, black on white, the poor and the rich, the happy and the unhappy.
Our world is much more complex than we imagine. The prejudices and stereotypes we hold on to help to colour our view of the world, and unfortunately it is often negative, so we distance ourselves from loving and open people who, in our eyes, are judgmental, prejudiced, and selfish.
We let our fears define other people, other cultures and nationalities. We are afraid to take a step forward and talk to the biker with the big tattooed biceps or with the woman with the traditional and colourful clothes carrying her new-born. Their differences help to create healthy diversity, different exciting cultures and lifestyles. They are people, like us, with hopes and dreams but also with fear and doubt. They also love song and games and presence and family, as well as the vast majority also stay away from theft, lies, fraud and hatred.
So, let's see them as they are - like humans - as complex and diverse people - and the next time you see a stranger, and you feel your excited curiosity is being stopped by your prejudice and fears, take a look at the mirror and remind yourself who the strangers really are.