Reading Guide Discussion Questions for The Black Mzungu
1. What type of events in someone’s life might make someone move to another part of the world?
2. What factors would determine the level of acceptance of someone who lives among people from a different culture? What should someone do to gain acceptance?
3. What risks did the author consider when she decided where she would reside?
4. What burden do African Americans carry that make some consider a connection to a continent they never visited? Should they?
5. What common bond is more important in forming friendships: religion, color, language, socio-economic, nationality?
6. What skills are needed to navigate a new environment?
7. What comforts could you sacrifice to make a new life? And, what would you need to replace those comforts?
8. Trust is an important factor in forming relationships. Who betrayed the author’s trust? How can someone gain your trust in a new environment? Is it the same factors in the West and developing world?
9. Do you think the author will live out her life in her new home? If not, what would cause her to return back to the States permanently?
10. What void did the foundation fill?
11. Was the change the author made in her life revolutionary or evolutionary? Why?
12. What compromises, if any, did the author make in her own values?
13. What are the possible repercussions of reporting an illegal activity that seems systemic and accepted by society?
14. What boundaries would you set with you neighbors? When do you give and when do you decline? Are you more apt to give if someone asks?
15. Retirement is a major life event. How different do you think the author’s life would be if she retired in the States instead of Africa?
16. Which institution or sector of society has the biggest impact on the lives of people?
17. Africa is rich in resources. Why has its wealth not improved the lives of the masses? What changes, if any, need to be made for the people of southeast Tanzania to benefit from the discovery of natural gas?
18. Do non-profit organizations and international aid help or hinder development?
19. How do you think the people of the author’s village felt when she moved next door?
20. When is wildlife something to be marveled? And, when is it something to be feared? What measures would you put in place to live among the wildlife?