BEIRUT, LEBANON — Whatever second thoughts Julie might have had, there was no turning back once she stepped off the plane. She was already 3,000 miles away from her home in Kenya and trapped inside a stranger’s car. When she arrived at her destination in Lebanon, she met the woman who lived in the house she was hired to look after.
Few words were exchanged between the two women. Julie, who requested her real name not be used in this piece, was simply instructed to finish her glass of water and head straight to the bathroom. That’s where she was ordered to take off all of her clothes. The woman wanted to show Julie how to shower, since it seemed that in her mind, Africans were jungle-like people who didn’t know how to clean themselves.
“I told her that I know how to shower,” said Julie, explaining that she was shocked by the request. “I said [do] you really want me to take off my clothes? What is this place, a prison?”