Dear Banana Boat,
I would like to address the issue, first and foremost, of the falsity you have printed on your sunscreen bottle: “Sweat Resistant”.
“Sweat Resistant” my ass! Pardon my French, but as I sit here writing this to you in the sweltering sauna box they call a mud hut here in Africa, I am quick to find fault with your claims and not in the mood for mincing words. I’m not sure if you tested your product at all in this part of the world Banana Boat, but your “Won’t Run Into Eyes” sunscreen runs into my eyes faster than Usain Bolt in 100m dash!
I find your assertions particularly enraging during my daily bike trips when a sweaty sunscreen medley streams into my eyes so that I am not only unprotected from the sun on my bike ride, but am also blinded! As you can imagine, a white girl weaving to and fro on the village path screaming obscenities no one can understand does nothing to strengthen the reputation of foreigners nor does it help to keep the donkeys pulling carts from veering off the road in fear.
At first, I thought it was some fault of my own, but the instructions clearly state, “Apply generously and evenly to all areas 15 minutes before sun exposure” and I do this on a daily basis. Then I realized something.
Perhaps it is impossible to apply sunscreen while one is still sweating. Aha! I seemed to have found the problem. But unfortunately, Banana Boat, the solution still evades me, since I never. stop. sweating.
Furthermore, I already stick out like a… well, like a white girl in Africa. After being called Toubaco again and again based on the fact that I am the only Caucasian person within a 20 km radius, I really would appreciate if you could develop a sunscreen that at least rubs in, instead of making me even whiter.
I’m already hot and my eyes are stinging due to your “sweat resistant” sunscreen. A child shrieking at me as if I’m the ghost of Christmas Past just adds insult to injury. It’s not like I have a full length mirror hanging in my hut, you know!
I guess that’s all I needed to get off my chest. And now that the iceman has arrived on his bicycle, I feel much calmer. The Senegalese heat can do crazy things to you. But I’m not crazy… just hot and in need of some effective sunscreen.
A Peace Corps Volunteer in the middle of hot season, Rural Africa