Read other Immigrant’s Postcards here.
She is petite, her skin a burnished coffee tone. Ever smiling, this beautiful Ethiopian woman is a janitor and my friend. We chat about her weeknight chores and weekend plans. She tells me about her gang of girlfriends, the one that’s stuck together for 14 years, the one that meets every month for a potluck or a fun outing.
“No husbands or kids,” she tells me. The rules of the game are uncompromisingly clear. The women, all hardworking immigrants from Ethiopia, earn this–their day of leisure–and they wouldn’t let encumbrances of domesticity ruin it.
I point to her braided hair and request her to teach me how to do it. Not a problem she says, flashing her toothy smile.
The next time we run into each other, I find her extra animated .
“Did you see Survivor? On TV last night?” she asks me.
I nod in the negative. We don’t have cable, so I don’t get to watch that show.
“You know, there is an Indian girl in it. You’re from India, right?”
“Yes,” I nod.
“Oh my god–she is so good. She has a good strategy, she is smart…she knows how to get there. We are all wishing for her to win.”
I have no idea of the show she is talking about.
But I know she is right.
Survivor — that’s a game Indian girls of all ages play. A lot. With or without strategies. At home, on streets, in buses. And inside cars and university campuses.