When you are one of the few Europeans in a small Kenyan town, you get notices. Conversely, as a Stargardtien, I often only notice a different skin colour in hindsight.
Recently we left for a field trip early in the morning. The St. Martin CSA minibus was half full and I came to sit on the back seat. We drove off and as I looked ahead between the other occupants, I noticed a light head. Well, I didn't know that we had European visitors with us. Maybe I missed the corresponding announcement? The bus turned into a curve and I realised: Oh, that's my work colleague! The morning sun shone brightly from the side into the car, making his head looking European to me. The distance that separated us his hairstyle and facial features were not discernable to me and hence no clues for me to recognise him.
Another time I hiked with some colleagues in a national park and another group comes towards us. The group kindly stepped at the edge of the path so that we could pass. I noticed that someone was staring at me, I could literally feel it. I wondered a little, and when I passed the person, I realised that it was a European. Like me, he was the only European in a group of Africans. Should I have greeted him in particular? Or even stopped briefly and exchanged the usual from where and where to?
As a Stargardtien, I often can't see the obvious. But that opens up opportunities for me to see - or better perceive - things that are perhaps less obvious and overlooked by others.
This article is part of the series "Stargardt in Africa".