My grandmother was born in 1929 or 1930- the details are vague because in her time, years of birth were remembered by association with a catastrophic event or proximity to one: like a great flood, foreign invasion etc. I don’t quite recall why she chose either of those years but we stuck with them.
What is very certain was that she was born into a British colony and would remain so for the first 34 years of her life. Her birth family was fairly influential and she was dotted on by her protective father. She got married at 20 years to the wayward son of a very wealthy family. He spent most of his time drinking and cavorting with the ladies, leaving my grandmother to take care of their young family. He wasn’t a good provider (on account of his drinking) but she made do with provisions from his parents and hers. All that changed when a state of emergency was declared in 1952 (to 1960).
All the troublesome locals were rounded into settlements, comprising of huts built in straight rows, for easier monitoring and with strict curfews. Unable to feed themselves off the land, many, like my grandmother, were forced to work for the colonizers in some domestic help capacity. My grandmother worked in residence to raise British children and only came home on the weekends to see her three young children. Grandfather was still missing in action so her mother surrogated (sic) for her to raise my dad, uncle and aunt.
I give this story to explain why otherwise well meaning people can harbour prejudices against groups of people. Understandably, my grandmother spent most of her life quite suspicious and borderline hateful towards the “English” which was transferred to most white people. I say most of her life because when my sister got married to a white man, he was embraced with great love by her.
However, if she’d run a bed and breakfast and for business or legal reasons was forced to welcome the English into her house, it would probably not have been a very pleasant experience for that guest. I’d imagine she may have wanted to exert revenge on those years she was forced to raise their children for pennies on the dollar. The domesticity of a bed and breakfast would probably have triggered even more bad memories of servitude and she’d have denied the guests a chance at enjoying their stay.
My point is- I don’t judge; everyone is entitled to their opinions and heck even prejudices. I am fully for the laws protecting employment, education and other public institutions from these prejudice inclinations. However, small business owners who choose to have people over in their homes should be allowed the courtesy of welcome people they “want” in their homes. Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking out for them; on the contrary, I am thinking of the “other” guest who has spent their hard earned money and taken vacation time off to patronize the vacation establishment, only to be treated as a second class citizen. Yes, that may be the best chalet with the best view of the hills but if the one behind the ridiculously large bolder will have a better ambiance, I say skip the view and rest your tired bones.
I don’t want to hear about the bad experiences; I have enough of my own thank you very much! But, how sweet it would be to have a collection of good news stories of vacation stays, preferably in mom and pop types of establishments by diverse guests. Obviously, diversity means different things to different people and an Englishman in my home country would qualify as a diverse candidate (although I’d be hard pressed to find a mzungu that was maltreated in the land of safaris). However, I’d especially love to hear of black, latino, natives and whatever “others” one identifies as, who’ve been treated like the royalty they are in North American and European bed and breakfasts or vacation rentals.
Let’s keep it classy but give as much details in your shout outs as you can.
I am off to rest my tired bones