If, as a westerner, you are going to visit Africa, the earlier in your life you do it, the better. The writer also brings up the paradox of service missions:

I suspect my earnest young woman felt that the only “appropriate” way to interact with Africa was to roll her sleeves up and start hammering a wall into place or digging a latrine. That is certainly what most British politicians do when they go to Africa. The charities that organise student gap years also seem to regard building schools in Vietnam and digging wells in Malawi as the best use of their volunteers’ time. It’s bizarre, when you think about it. The one thing the developing world has a surplus of is physical labour.

Shakespeare in the Bush. “An American anthropologist set out to study the Tiv of West Africa and was taught the true meaning of Hamlet.”:

I decided to skip the soliloquy. Even if Claudius was here thought quite right to marry his brother’s widow, there remained the poison motif, and I knew they would disapprove of fratricide. More hopefully I resumed, “That night Hamlet kept watch with the three who had seen his dead father. The dead chief again appeared, and although the others were afraid, Hamlet followed his dead father off to one side. When they were alone, Hamlet’s dead father spoke.”

“Omens can’t talk!” The old man was emphatic.

“Hamlet’s dead father wasn’t an omen. Seeing him might have been an omen, but he was not.” My audience looked as confused as I sounded. “It was Hamlet’s dead father. It was a thing we call a ‘ghost.’” I had to use the English word, for unlike many of the neighboring tribes, these people didn’t believe in the survival after death of any individuating part of the personality.

“What is a ‘ghost?’ An omen?”

“No, a ‘ghost’ is someone who is dead but who walks around and can talk, and people can hear him and see him but not touch him.”

They objected. “One can touch zombis.”

“No, no! It was not a dead body the witches had animated to sacrifice and eat. No one else made Hamlet’s dead father walk. He did it himself.”

“Dead men can’t walk,” protested my audience as one man.

I was quite willing to compromise.

“A ‘ghost’ is the dead man’s shadow.”

But again they objected. “Dead men cast no shadows.”

“They do in my country,” I snapped.