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Kindness is the Language of Travel

My Scholarship entry - A local encounter that changed my life

WORLDWIDE | Monday, 23 April 2012 | Views [91] | Scholarship Entry

Children are milling around. Some are playing on the mud floor. Others are filling in, making the bamboo door creak each time. A few of the adults are walking around shushing the noisy ones. For a second my senses are overwhelmed, the smell of fresh bread, the heat of the porridge in front of me, crying babies, squealing toddlers. I step back and I sit down.

That is when he finds me. He grabs my hands and turns them over. "Rich hands," he says. I shake my head. "No, I'm not rich." He laughs and shows me his hands. They are lined, like an old man's, yet callous-free still and chubby, signs of babyhood slowly disappearing. I look at his eyes, yellowed so young. He smiles and the corners crinkle just a little. "Rich hands," he repeats and places half a bread in them. I shake my head again motioning for him to eat it. He holds up the other half and starts eating.

When he finishes his half, he smiles one last crinkly smile my way, and runs to his family, looping an arm around an older child. Perhaps a sibling or a neighbor. I continue watching for a few seconds until I finish my half. When I'm done, I look down at my rich hands and think that perhaps they are richer, for the half a bread and young old hands I held today.

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2012

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