01 Febrero 2017 (date started and date of occurrence)
A little girl child.
Sitting with her family in the office for Argentinian Visas, she looked irretrievably bored. I had been sitting a seat or two over from her, but by the time I got back from doing my Visa stuff, my seat had moved and I was privileged to take the one next to her.
My friends and I were laughing about something or another, and I noticed that the little girl child was watching us.
I smiled at her and asked her how she was. She stared at me with wide eyes, so I put my thumb up and asked if it was all good. She nodded, hugging her plush Rainbow Dash (a My Little Pony character) closer, and letting her gaze flicker over my friends. Within a few more minutes of switching between conversing with my friends and slowly coaxing the little girl out of her silent reverie (of course with an eye on her guardians to be sure they were okay with that), she finally spoke. I had asked her if she was bored, to which she nodded, and then I asked her what she was going to do about it.
“Nothing,” she said and looked at me with those solemn doe-eyes of hers.
I had to laugh, “But won’t that only make you more bored?”
She shrugged her shoulders, and when I laughed again, she cracked a smile. I managed to solve her boredom with a pen and piece of paper: drawing. After she drew each thing, she’d look at me expectantly and I’d have to guess what it was. Often I was right, but once in a while it was something I’d never seen or heard of. In those instances, she would giggle and once in a while when I really wasn’t catching on, the person sitting next to her (I’m assuming her sister) would help her describe it to me in such a fashion that I could understand. Sometimes the original word had been in Guaraní, an indigenous tongue used a lot in Paraguay, Uruguay, and northern Argentina.
I found special joy in that her pictures were always filled with smiley faces, from houses to to the sun, everything was smiling (those things not yet smiling in the picture were later duly noted with smiles on “faces”).
After filling one page with her interpretation of the world, she gave the pen back to me and smiled brightly, swinging her legs back and forth as she watched the quiet goings-on of the secretaries and other staff. I asked her if I could take a picture of her masterpiece, and she very kindly agreed (see featured photo, though this is before it was truly covered, there were many, many more drawings added afterwards [including our own town, and I even had my own house!], but I didn’t have time to ask for another shot).
Within a few minutes, she was back to drawing and her Mum and sister taught me the different words from the drawings in Guaraní. As they told me, the language is absolutely completely in every form and fashion different from Spanish! But it was fascinating to attempt the sounds that make Guaraní what it is. We laughed and talked, and I marveled at how a simple question had opened the doors for actual communication with actual people.
I may have forgotten the Guaraní words now, but I will not forget those peoples’ friendliness in response to my reaching out to alleviate the boredom of their little girl child. The smallest, simplest acts can go a long way toward friendship, even if it’s only friendship that lasts for a few hours. Every day we have countless opportunities to reach out and make an impact on another person. I ask you: will you stick your thumb in their face and ask if it’s “all good?”
Chances are, they’re feeling the same way you are regarding whatever situation you find yourself in. Chances are even higher they’d appreciate someone to laugh about it with. Take a positive chance, make a positive impact; in your own life and in the life of another.