Over the weekend all of the Fellows had a “girls’ night in.” We gathered the necessary supplies, movies (Paul and the X Files), snacks (tomato flavored Crinkle Cuts and an army of Haribo gummies), and henna, and settled in the living room downstairs, which has also doubled as Lauren and my bedroom since the Upstairs Bed Bug Infestation of 2012. At first Bryan and Lincoln seemed skeptical about joining in on girls’ night, but with enough persuading they too were partaking in our Saturday night antics.
We passed around a laptop and searched for potential henna designs. With some thorough searching and a little artistic tweaking everyone eventually settled on their designs. Even though I’m teaching an art course at my center in Pamplemousses, I have not had experience with henna as a medium. Lauren and I had picked up our henna at a little shop just up the street from our house where we go to buy last minute supplies, such as chocolate, bananas, and eggs. It came in a little bag and we weren’t sure if there would be enough for everyone to use, but we were willing to give it a try. We had no idea how long it would last or if the dye would even take, but we still handed over the 20 rupees for the little silver bag.
As cheesy as it sounds, I think of our henna experience as a reflection of our time in Mauritius so far. I came to the island with a suitcase full of art supplies but I didn’t know if I would have enough for my students. I didn’t know if the idea of my class would take hold with the students. However, I’ve been willing to try and, so far, so have the students that trickle in every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Even though I had never used henna before, the Fellows trusted me to ink on their designs for better or for worse. Luckily everyone was happy with the final results, or at least they’ve been very good at hiding any displeasure. Although the “tattoos” will eventually fade, the memories from our “girls’ night,” I’m happy to say, will be with us for much longer.