May 1st, 2018, 10:10 PM

Being a Celebrity in Cordoba

By Mimi Camara
Image Credit: Unsplash/Clem Onojeghuo
I got my 15 minutes of fame in a small town in Spain, by children who kept screaming my name.

During my four-day school trip to Seville, my class and I went to Cordoba for a day. Since Cordoba was about two hours away from Seville by train, we arrived early in the morning and left later that evening. We spent 10 hours in this small, charming city during which we visited museums, cathedrals and, of course, had lunch.

Image Credit: Unsplash/ Daniel Frank 

Cordoba is a beautiful city in southern Spain filled with rich history and culture. This historic city was ruled by four regimes: the Romans, the Visigoths, the Muslim caliphate and finally the Catholic monarchs.

Upon arriving in Cordoba we took a bus to Medina Azahara, the remnants of a vast and powerful city created by Caliph of Cordoba Umayyads, Abd-ar-Rahman III al-Nasir. Located in the outskirts of Cordoba, this old Hispanic-Muslim city was built in 936. Our first stop was at the museum which contained artifacts found from remnants of the diminished city before we headed to the ruins to see what was left of the old town that was once thriving and powerful.

Image Credit: Unsplash/Micheile Henderson

During the time of our arrival, the museum was filled with numerous groups of children all on a school trip. When I entered the museum I noticed that I was being looked at by all the kids. Their stares more curious than judgemental, I was quickly approached by these inquisitive 8-year-olds.

My first thought about why they could possibly be staring at me was “ it must be because I’m black”

As their curiosity got the best of them I was overloaded by their numerous questions and circled by them.

Image Credit: Nicki Dobkin 

“What’s your name?”

“Where are you from?”

“Why are you here?”

And so on…

I answered all their questions happily and fed their curiosity.  

Image Credit: Nicki Dobkin

As the tour of the museum commenced I felt the continuous stares, smiles, and shy laughter whenever I’d look over at the curious kids. I heard my name whispered and shouted out as if I was a celebrity. They would wave at me in awe and confess their love for me.

“Mimi, Mimi, I love you” they’d yell.

The attention I was receiving was unlike any other I’ve experienced. It came from the genuine and kind-hearted curiosity of children. Their intent was not to offend but to understand.

But I still couldn't help but think if this was their first time seeing a person of color. Although I was not the only person of color on the school trip, the dark complexion of my skin stood out above all others.  

Spain has a population of 88% Spaniards and only 12% immigrants. According to the High Council of Black Communities, black people only make up for 1.5% of the immigrant population. With that being said it is not a surprise that my presence in this small, charming town was a shock.

Image Credit: Nicki Dobkin

I had my 15 minutes of fame, and I couldn’t have asked for a better entourage, or a better city to have experienced it in.

Thank you, Cordoba.