Lutheran Mzungu: My Encounter with Cultural Difference Teaching in Tanzania (Paperback)
Lutheran Mzungu is an exploration of personal cultural awakening when an American Lutheran professor of English volunteered for a six-month teaching stint at a Lutheran university in Tanzania and ended up teaching British Law. She quickly found herself to be mzungu (stranger, white person, outsider) on multiple levels: racially (white), economically ("first" world versus "third"), professionally (English professor placed in the Faculty of Law), even religiously (American Lutherans often comport themselves differently than Tanzanian). While often awkward, the author's experience was altogether positive. Being an outsider puts one in a position of exclusion while simultaneously giving a better vantage point for viewing the differences.
Working and traveling in a foreign country means adapting oneself to native culture for anything to be accomplished. Radius-Kasik tells her experience with humor and humility, exploring and honoring the differences. In her journey, relationships became friendships, and deepening friendships challenged her to find her way into a place and a people so unlike anything she'd ever known, and yet so very like everything she'd ever known. A conundrum for sure, but mixing cultures is always a conundrum.
Lutheran Mzungu is not a travel guide, but it might serve well for the reader about to embark on a first African experience. All a reader needs is an interest in exploring preconceived ideas about cultural differences between Africans and Westerners.