Sunday, September 13, 2009

Scenario #28: Children smiling

Yesterday I showed up at a beauty salon to see what they could do for me, but it was closed. In front stood a man with a baby. The baby was probably about six months old or maybe a bit older. Dressed like a boy, except for the earrings so probably a girl.

In my extremely broken Tetum I asked the man if he knew when the salon would open. He didn't seem to understand my question, just kept informing me that it's closed. Maybe he meant closed for good.

But during our frustrated non-communicative conversation, the baby looked at me and giggled. Then turned her (his) head in to her (his) dad's shoulder, then quickly looked at me and reached both hands out to me. I put my hands out and we played handsie for a minute and giggled at each other. So happy, so friendly.

The other day, when I was viewing a flat for a potential home, I had a similar experience. Such a nice baby, so communicative.

This evening, I went for a walk along the beach, as one does when one is holed up in a posh hotel by the sea in a poverty-ridden city. The walk along the beach isn't as quiet and idyllic as it may sound because the sand is dirty and the sidewalk is narrow and bordering a busy road. Guys on motorbikes riding by and staring. Salesmen taking up the whole sidewalk as they walk along with a pole strong across their shoulders that has bananas hanging from both ends. Timorese families who live nearby enjoying the breathtaking sunset.

This time, though, as I walked, a little boy of three or four years old crossed my path on the sidewalk, said "botarde" (good afternoon), and gave me the biggest grin ever.

The younger generation here is so outgoing, so fearless, so joyful. In too many ways different from the older generation. What will they be when they grow up?

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