i walked over with my camera slung over my shoulder.
i didn’t know a lick of portuguese apart from “obrigado” (thank you) and “adeus” (goodbye), so it was only through my english questions and their unified nods and yes’s and some pretty elementary charades that we could communicate.
i held up my camera, nodding “yes”, wondering if they would mind having their photo taken.
in mozambique, the eyes are the window to the soul, so to take a photo of them is a precious thing. you can’t just start snapping and changing your film. you need to respect them, and ask.
and at first this little boy was so shy, acting very much within his cultural context.
covering his eyes.
but when i showed them the picture, they all did what every african child does. they hurried to congregate and point their tiny fingers at the screen, giggling and exchanging excited glances at one another.
it happens every single time. and it never gets old.
they then smiled and posed proudly with their flimsy fishing rods, and continued taking joy from my ill-fated attempts to speak their language.
i motioned towards their fishing bag and reached into my own imaginary fishing bag, asking if they had caught anything. they understood. the older boy reached into his green satchel and pulled out one solitary fish.
this one fish looked like it had eaten an entire sandbox right before it died.
it was gritty and dirty and thin.
and i just…my whole face smiled to communicate pride, that they had caught something.
but my chest felt like it had taken on too much water.
because it was immediately clear.
God is going to take me aside every chance He gets to challenge my ideas about what is enough.
(sidenote: that little boy had me taken. his countenance was soft and innocent and his smile is probably one of the truest things i’ve ever seen. he was so dear.
and he also proved what i often find in african children. their ability to appear so young, and also so old, so beyond their years. of these last two photos, the first, he is every bit the little boy with a hand as a handkerchief. the second, he seems entire age brackets older, and wiser. it seems like he has some huge story behind his eyes, but he’s so little.
i’m fascinated .)