Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oh No Ma'am, You Can't Go There!

As I proceeded I was met by kids laughing and yelling the few English words they know, and posed for photos – soon I had a whole following, and adults along the way smiled and greeted me with big smiles and posed as well, so my trepidation slowly went away and I headed out towards the "houses" built on the stilts. I was definitely entering another world, but I was urged on by the friendliness I met, and I ventured on snapping photos of everything – the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful – it was all there! Grandmas with kids wanting me to take a picture, men, old and young, and all very friendly, wanting to know where I was from. California – United States – by San Francisco – was my answer if they kept asking and didn't really know California. One man did and he wanted to know the name of our president – Obama – he shook his head, no other one – I said our governor of California is Arnold Schwarzenegger, you know the Terminator – he and the other men around were ecstatic, yes Terminator and then they all made gestures and sounds like they were shooting machine guns – he kill the bad guys! The man said, yes I know, I once saw in a magazine! He was so proud of himself, it was delightful! It was connecting with someone across all barriers – and I am sure he grew in the eyes of his buddies! Another man came and pointed to a woman holding a beautiful baby girl, he wanted me to take a picture – I obliged, and then he introduced me to his wife, who was tending a little store with fabrics, and I took a photo and told him his wife was beautiful – he beamed at me! I was now by the mosque built on stilts as well, and I continued across a narrow "bridge" where the village continued. I walked a bit further, but then the walkway got a bit more precarious with planks missing here and there, so I thought it prudent to turn around and head back. I was met with smiles and waves as I went back, took some more photos, and the guys who had wanted me to take a photo of them, while one of them was holding a small bag with something white, waved again and held up a bag, as if they were asking if I wanted to buy! Heavens no, I shook my head, realizing that what I had thought at the time most likely was correct, even though I did find it peculiar that he wanted to be photographed with the stuff, whatever it was!!

This morning when I was picked up by the Humana truck we passed the settlement and I turned around to the teachers in the back and said, "I went there yesterday!" They were horrified and exclaimed: "Oh no ma'am, you cannot go there, it is the dark side, it's very dangerous, nobody goes there!" Well then, I guess sometimes it pays off to be ignorant, blond and blue-eyed believing in the good in people, so I have walked on the dark side and returned unharmed! God knows I looked like a tourist, and stuck out like a sore thumb, but maybe that was a saving grace, who knows!

The rest of the day I did totally harmless things such as writing my blog and painting with the materials that had been dropped off at my hotel while I was exploring, so I had a feel for what the paint, brushes and paper Marianne so kindly and generously had sponsored were like, so I could adapt my instruction accordingly.
I had dinner with Torben and Rosalyn and two of the boys at the hotel, and got the last of the information for the coming days from Torben before we said good night, and I headed up to finish packing and go to bed, as another early morning lay ahead of me!

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