“It doesn’t matter how many map quizzes I give or how often I interrupt students to ask them to be specific about the amazing pictures from their volunteer trip to ‘Africa,’ things are never going to change,” said Dionne. “I might as well give up.”
Reached as she directed several research assistants to methodically begin erasing boundary lines from the Africa maps in her collection, Seay ruefully added, “I guess I’ll stop correcting people when they tell me they’re headed to ‘Ghana, Africa’ for a church mission trip.”
Dionne and Seay, both of whom should be editing their book manuscripts right now, shook their heads with regret at all the time, red ink and blood pressure medication they could have saved had they earlier given up on making Americans understand that rural Zambians have little in common with Senegal’s urban elites, other than that they share a continental landmass and survived European colonization.
“How did we miss that this fight was one we could never win?” cried Dionne. “I mean, there’s even a website. And if it’s on the Google, it must be true.” She was last spotted in a nearby academic library, frantically searching the cassette tape archives for instructions on blessing the rains.
When Dionne notified her friend and frequent co-author, Boniface Dulani (formerly of the University of Malawi and now of the University of Africa [*Editor’s note: At the moment, several hundred universities claim this name.]), he said, “I don’t understand. Here in Malawi – I mean Africa – we don’t have this problem.”