Thursday, February 24, 2011

About Skin

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?
Me: Yes.
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.
Colleague: Oh.
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?
Me: Moles
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.
Me: .......Oh.
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.


nate sjol said...

See, totally read your post.

I had a conversation with a dark-skinned friend after I had just gotten a new tattoo that was essentially the flip side of your convo here.

He wished he had white skin, so that he could get colorful tattoos, instead of just black ink and told me I was "wasting my skin" with simple, black ink tats.

Prairie Dissertator...and a sort of a cook said...

all I gotta say is WORD! Beautiful post!

Rose Connors said...

Wow. Love this!