Here is a joy kids growing up in the West these days with our bod-mod-saturated media will never be able to experience (or at least remember, since it happens to them when they are babies) — seeing tattoos for the very first time! Tracy’s good friend Christopher just joined the Peace Corps and is teaching math for the next two years in Namibia. The kids reacted with complete amazement not to his white skin and blond hair like we stereotypically hear in old Victorian explorer stories, but to his colourful fully tattooed sleeves, something that just doesn’t exist in most of rural Africa, so it was a real treat for them. Rachel and I were in Windhoek, Namibia almost ten years ago, but since we never went into the rural areas other than to go on a (quite wonderful, but very touristy) safari, mostly we were being glared at by snooty wanna-be-aristocrat German expats. Christopher’s encounter is much more charming.
PS. If this entry gets you thinking, here’s a map of all the places you can go if you join the Peace Corps — peacecorps.gov/learn/wherepc/ — much better opportunities for international adventure than joining the
Military War Corps, I would say, plus the odds of getting your limbs blown off are much lower, and you’ll be helping people, not killing and oppressing them. They’ll excitedly poke at your tattoos, rather than cowering in fear and shooting at you.