My answer is normally, "before sweden i lived in London" ..confusing them even more but lately i get the question more and more so i say "my heritage is french and west african".. this is true i was born in nigeria, mums malian/french..dads gambian so there you go.
Now here lies the problem. .due to miscommunication,misinformation, media exaggeration and ignorance in general, as soon as i say west africa. .somewhere in the response i hear that word.."ebola"
Concern is one thing..empathy excellent. .general stigma not acceptable.
Generalised statements that ive heard..when i say im from west africa are not ok..i realise the panic and fear people feel around this very serious disease but let me put it this way. .once we begin to look at all West Africans as potentially sick ..How exactly do you want me to feel.
I wanted to take my little girl to meet her great grand ma (over 90yrs old) in Mali over Christmas . There has been ONE Ebola case found in mali. The professionals i spoke to about this trip basically told me that even though the risk of getting infected is very very slim once we come back we maybe subjected to several tests before we are allowed back into sweden.
As a teacher i may have to stay home an extra 14days to ensure that i do not contaminate others..
And my favorite. . 'People would be uncomfortable around you once you come back'