Starting today, a student will write about his or her experience for this blog.
Posting by Martina Martin
Black Like Me
She was the first person that greeted us when we arrived at the Temple. Somewhat bewildered at the prospect of walking barefoot along the hot, glass strewn pavement, her wide grin was a welcome sight. "50 rupees" she exclaimed, as she quietly exchanged our currency for baskets filled with offering flowers. As the group wound its way along the narrow corridors of the "Ohm" shaped temple, she followed closely behind. It was not long, however, before her curiosity got the best of her. Using what English she knew, and unbeknownst to me, she inquired among my colleagues, "How did she get her hair like that?" gesturing towards my palm-rolled locs. "Oh, she probably twists it," replied a classmate. With my ears burning, I turned in the direction of the conversation as the temple girl whizzed by to offer assistance to one of our guides. "She was really interested in your hair, but was afraid to approach you directly because she said your face seemed stern," replied another classmate. "Really?" I thought aloud, "Me, stern?" As I considered the girl's perception of me, I was reminded of a poem by Maya Angelou entitled, "Human Family" which declares that in spite of obvious racial, ethnic and cultural differences, people share more similarities than differences. Watching the girl from afar, I began to see parts of myself in her. In addition to sharing the same black skin, I realized that we also shared the same level of respect and consideration for the feelings of others. Given the sincerity of her interest, I invited her to touch my hair. "Wow!" she exclaimed with bright eyes and a bubbly laugh. Fascinated by the differences in our hair texture, she proceeded to style my hair--ultimately adorning it with a single red rose from my offering basket. We posed for a picture together and shared pleasantries before parting ways. As I boarded the bus I came to realize that in spite of hailing from different parts of the world, we really were more alike, than we were unalike.