Today, I had a series of conversations with a Rwandan colleague regarding our skin anomalies. I've appreciated getting to know this colleague, and I believe we've reached a level of candor that proves she trusts me, and vice versa. Nonetheless, it's been a learning experience for both of us.
Colleague: Do you have a mosquito net?
Colleague: You should use it. Your face looks like it was bitten.
Me: Ah, no, That's a pimple.
Colleague: A pimple?
Me: Yes, a pimple.
Colleague: But you have another one, here (points to forehead).
Me: Yep, that's a pimple, too.
Me: That's the problem with white skin. Everything shows up. Look at these. (I show her the moles on my arms)
Colleague: Ooo what are those?
Colleague: Can you put lotion on them and make them fade?
Me: No, not really.
Colleague: (pauses while she thinks about my pockmarked, zit-filled and moley-skin)
Me: (trying not to show her the skin tag on my neck, too)
Colleague: (Thoughtfully) Yes, nothing really shows up on dark skin.
Me: Can we trade?
Later on, in the car, I notice a nickel-sized scar on her arm.
Me: (touching her arm) What happened here?
Her: I got cut.
Me: You got cut?
Her: Yes, during the genocide.
Her: Many people were cut, like on their heads and other places.
Me: (kind of wishing we were still talking about my pimples...)
Her: I am lucky.