HSP: being a highly sensitive person in Africa

African woman

The rainy season is coming to an end on Bioko island, leaving space for the sunny, very hot and humid days of the dry season. I am a HSP. I am sensitive to light, sun, heat, sweat. I have got asthma as well as some food intolerance. I do not get along well with heavy spicy sauces or fermented vegetables or tubers (most of country’s traditional dishes that I know of). I am thinking about becoming a vegetarian. Trying to retrieve all-vegetarian African recipes could be an interesting hobby.

I like music, however I cannot stand the loud volume of the radio whenever I get in a local taxi. I love dancing , but I can get extremely shy in public. I feel terribly guilty if I ever find someone hitting a child for the child’s sake!. I feel pain and discomfort when I have to get my hair braided, my scalp is so sensitive. I once had to wrung a cock’s neck and let it bleed on the floor as a sacrifice. But I didn’t faint , did not have any nightmares nor did I feel guilty afterwards, because I was never left alone throughout the process (my mother’s ritual for becoming a widow). I am not a very good model of housewife for I get overwhelmed whenever I have to clean the house and cook or run some errands. This is me. And yes: I am African. I am a woman. Thus I am an African woman. Besides I currently live in Africa. Which makes me somewhat a rara avis?. I don’t think so. So little has been said about us…HS African women…but we do exist.

I am not very good at maths, but considering that the African Continent has approximately a population of 1000 millions, a 20% of that would be around 200 million potential HSP. And thinking especially of those who live in urban areas… I am wondering how do they cope with the million stimuli surrounding us on a daily basis?. How do they relate to their spouses, children and relatives to limit boundaries?. How do they deal with stress?. And HS men…how do they manage to go through initiation ceremonies? How do they feel when they are obliged to take a girl they don’t really know or have never met as wife?. How can they stop the tears from falling when feeling sad, depressed or even just moved, shocked?.

The answer is the sense of community: the family, the village, the clan, the tribe. . In Africa you can be alone at times, but you are never lonely. There is always someone by your side watching you, ready to hold your hand if you are about to fall, to smile at you if you doubt, to push you a little if you are afraid to jump into the river…At least, that is how it used to be. Right now we are loosing our values and trying to fit in a changing world, not anymore one of the traditions but either a fully western individual oriented world. In fact we are in the middle of nowhere trying to just make it through.

Africa is much more than all those TV shocking images of wars, wild animals, droughts, starving children, AIDS, jumping massai, and Developed South Africa. It is much more than that. And from now on I will try to offer a very personal HSP view from my little piece of Africa on this fan page. It could be a fascinating journey. Would you like to ride?

Written by Anneta Gonçalves

Source: HSP Awareness International 

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