Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Tidbit of Racism

I wanted to go to a bird sanctuary that was off the beaten track. Sherry had suggested it but we had run out of time to do it together. I decided to go even though accommodation there was a bit scarce. It was a long bus ride, and when I did arrive it was nearly dark. The place that promised accommodation did not have any accommodation. There was no other option. None. No accommodation. So I went back to the village outside the sanctuary and took my only other option. I knocked on doors. I pantomimed sleeping and smiled a big smile and let the worry that was rising in my self, show in my face. A family (one in the ten that was in the village) agreed to let me stay the night. They took a few things out of their bedroom and then showed me in with a smile. In the corner was their bed; a piece of plywood on four posts, worn and frayed in the middle. No sheets, no cushion, no pillow. The only other thing in the room was one small cupboard for their belongings. Well there were a few other things in the room; the frog on the bed, the mosquitoes, the gigantic crickets, the jumping spiders, and mold. Lots of mold. Oh and heat. Thick heat. Close heat. Heat you cannot escape heat. Humid heat. Heat. Did I say steamy? I put my stuff in the room and thanked them many times. They invited me to dinner and indicated we would eat when their children got home from school. It was 5:30 at night. Around 6:00 pm three girls jumped off the bus and came running. They stopped short at the sight of a white woman in their house. It took a little while, the camera and petting their baby goats to befriend them. Soon, I was sitting doing their homework and they were off spending the battery in my camera. ( Yes I did their homework. ) They would return often to see how the homework was coming along and show me their pictures. At one point we were all sitting close, leaning over and working on the homework when they began to stroke my hair and touch my skin. They were fascinated but prejudiced. Those beautiful Indian girls, with deep, dark,innocent eyes, creamy coffee colored skin and hair down their back; combed and cat black looked at me and said: " I wish I was white like you."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy,
The first thing I noticed was what looked like major burns on the legs of the man sleeping on the bed! Ouch! It was so good to see you in the pictures! I'm sure that it was interesting to see a student who really appreciated your help & was interested in learning. You are truly in your element there but don't even think about it. I couldn't sleep nights.
Love, Mom