An Exchange

The other day a fellow volunteer told me an interesting story that I felt sums up much of our job as Peace Corps Volunteers.

A couple weeks ago she was sitting at the market drinking the local beverage, chouck (I’ve written about it in past entries… I think there is even a picture of me drinking it somewhere in the archives.) A little girl (probably 5 or 6 years old) and her mother were there as well, sitting a few feet away. My friend saw the girl point to her and ask a question to the mother. We are all very used to being talked about and she thought nothing of it.

Again the little girl asked something of the mother and pointed at my friend. This time the mother got up, and slightly sheepishly walked over to where my friend was sitting and asked, “I’m so sorry to bother you, but, my daughter has never touched white skin before. Would you mind if she touched you?” My friend being the good sport she is thought for a second and said, “Sure.”

The mother motioned to the girl who timidly approached my friend, slowly put out her hand and touched the white arm. Her eyes went large and she quickly pulled away. She stood there, staring at my friends arm, and finally reached out to touch it again.

This time she gave it a few strokes then looked up and said to her mother, “It’s the same as black skin!”

There are times in Peace Corps when I become consumed with my work. When that work isn’t going quite so well I get depressed and begin wondering why I am even here. Then there are the little day to day exchanges like the one my friend had that bring me back to reality and remind me of my real job.

Note... Don't forget to read the entry about the project I am working on!

224 comments:

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