By Kehinde Togun
I wrote this post on the plane ride on Tuesday. It remains in present tense ...
I’m sitting on the plane on the way back to
I am sitting in an aisle seat in the middle of the plane with a mother and her two children. I know the family is of African descent but I am unable to place their origin [this is a guessing game I (and I suspect many others) often play]. I’m sitting directly next to the oldest daughter, probably about 12 years old. She seems to have grown up in the States and is probably a precocious young girl. On occasion, she gives her little sister attitude, other times, she’s incredibly helpful and caring to the 4 year-old.
Upon taking my seat at the beginning of the flight, I noticed the 12 year-old had a henna tattoo on her left hand. Ever the inquisitive person, I wonder where the family had just visited – the likely source of the henna tattoo. After several hours sitting together, during which I give her my earphones so she could watch Ugly Betty, I ask her where the tattoo was from. She responds, “We went on vacation in
Of course, my interlocutor hat is now in full display. “What part of
I smile again. This is where our conversation ends and my thought process begins.
On the heels of the International Criminal Court’s indictment of the Sudanese President, Omar al Bashir, amidst the (valid) claims of genocide, and amidst the expulsion of international NGOs at the expense of citizens,
Nonetheless, my conversation with my 12-year old neighbor was a reminder that what many in the world see as a place of crisis is indeed where some people go on vacation – to see family, understand their heritage, and get to know their home.
It reminds me of a conversation I’ve had many times regarding inner cities in the
As I end my journey from