Tuesday, May 5, 2009
"Hey, want to meet me in Bangladesh"?
On Saturday, I got a voice mail from my housemates that went like this, "Hey, so there is an Embassy open house today. Want to meet us in Bangladesh?" And clearly thats not the kind of offer you can turn down. So I hopped on a bus, went to Van Ness and arrived at the Bangladesh Embassy.
Apparently the embassy open houses are a big deal. They are ofen very crowded and lot so people turn out. Well we seemed to time it well, I didn't have to stand in line at all. My housemates were at the Bangladesh Embassy when I arrived. At the door, I got to shake hands with the Ambassador from Bangladesh, which is both random and very cool. Then I made it inside and found my housemates Rachel and Deanna, who had just got in line to get henna done on their hands. Well, I've never had henna before, and I thought, sure why not?
For those of you who don't know what henna is, it a a form of temporary body art. It is applied by a paste that is left to dry on the skin. When washed off it leaves a reddish brown "tattoo," that stays from days to apparently weeks. We had the option of having henna painted on the back of our hands. My design also goes down the back of my middle finger. The woman who applied it was very quick. We stood in line for about 15 minutes for about a minute of actual henna application. And then we had to move very carefully around the crowded embassy to avoid getting henna on anyone (or ourselves!) while it set.
However, while this was quite a bit of fun on Saturday afternoon, the moral of this story is that out of the three of us, none of us considered how a henna tattoo was going to go over with the populations we serve at work.
By Sunday night, with my tattoo showing no signs of fading, I broke out the camera and Deanna and I did the self picture thing. It was surprisingly difficult to take a picture of the back of your own right hand. And even harder to take a picture of the back of two right hands. I've included our adventures in picture taking.
So maybe I can rule out "hand model" as a possible career.
Its now Thursday, and while my henna has faded, it is still very visible. We have all gotten some great reactions. Rachel gives presentations for children, and they especially have trouble understanding, and they are very concerned when about her "tattoo" and whether its ok for her to even have a tattoo. My participants and Deanna's clients have also had some great reactions. One of my particularly boisterous participants is convinced that I am marrying an Indian man, as henna is often a part of wedding rituals. I have to admit I did not totally discourage that mistake belief, as #1, my personal life is not his business and #2, I found it really amusing. and just today, someone asked if I had a cooking accident! I did set one straight and explained it wasn't a burn.
All together, henna was a fun little adventure, but maybe I'll avoid my right hand if I get a second opportunity.