Monday, August 10, 2009

Cultural exchange

On Thursday morning we arrived at daycare and the girls ran into the arms of one of their favorite teachers, Ms. H. And then they stepped back out of her arms. They stared. E grabbed one of Ms. H's hands and turned it over. Ms. H smiled, and lifted the hem of her long skirt. L pointed at her ankle.

Ms. H is from Somalia and had plans to travel for a family wedding this weekend. In Somali tradition she had had her hands and feet covered in mehndi, intricate drawings made from henna dye. Her palms depicted hummingbirds dipping deep into flower blossoms for nectar. The backs of her hands were intricately covered in more flowers. Every finger and every toe was dyed orange to the first knuckle. Her feet were encircled in beautiful vines (and she had worn flip-flops to best show her decoration).

E held her hand in wonder, turning it over and back again. Ms. H! You got a lot of tat-a-toos! (May she always believe that to be a three-syllable word. It makes my heart smile.)

L stabbed Ms. H with her finger, disapproving, accusing. Not nice! Messy! She ran to the diaper-changing area. She returned with a wipe in her hand and thrust it at her teacher.

Ms. H just laughed, and gave her a kiss.

Thursday night we got home and L found a purple pen. She drew all over her foot. I still haven't gotten it all washed off. Ms. H will be back at school tomorrow after taking a few days off to attend that wedding. I know that when I tell her this story and she sees L's foot she'll just laugh, and give her another kiss. Pin It

1 comment:

Angela J Reeves said...

I have to keep myself from enthusing too often about your blog posts, but I had to post this one as a link on Facebook today. Too fabulous!