"The world always looks brighter from behind a smile"
There is nothing better than hearing the laughter and seeing a smile of a child. Hearing the laughter of children should bring a smile to anyone's face and brighten up their day.
During a walk after we arrived in the Maasai village, all of the children kept their distance from us, but we could tell that they were intrigued by our presence in their village. A group of white people in an area of Tanzania that is a ways from normal civilization is a rare occurrence for them. So my fellow "mzungus" and I came up with a plan to get the children to warm up to us. We went back to our area and collected some chocolate bars and some bubbles and set back out on our trek.
Word quickly spread amongst the homes that we had returned and we had peace offerings with us. The older children came to us first, so I began to break the chocolate into small pieces and divvy them out for everyone. Soon the little ones began to line up and eagerly waited for their share of the chocolate.
After we gave them some chocolate, everyone started to warm up to us and began to speak to us. We had a limited vocabulary in Swahili and a pretty much non existent Maasai vocabulary at this point. We could say "Habari yako?" (how are you) and "Hujambo" (hello) at this point and that was about it. The kids loved it though, their faces lit up and began talking back to us at a million miles an hour.
Then it was time to bring out the big guns. We pulled out the bubbles and began to blow them and all the kids started giggling and chasing them around. We let them take turns trying to blow them, which took a little bit of training because some couldn't quite perfect it at first, but then they became masters.
This child here in the worn shirt with the star on it was such a special little spirit. He had the hardest time blowing the bubbles, but when he blew his first one, he was so proud of himself.
The young boy in the star sweater had a spine injury when he was younger, so he was not able to move around as fast at the other children and when he did try and run around, he had to use a makeshift crutch to walk with, nothing was slowing him down and he was all smiles as he was going after the bubbles.
This young boy in the red baseball sweater had the sweetest eyes and the warmest smile out of everyone in the group. The above picture is one of my favorites of him because you can just see the wonder in his eyes as he looks at the bubble floating in the air. He had patiently waited until so many other kids went through the line blowing bubbles and then when it was his turn to blow some bubbles, he got the biggest smile on his little face.
I am not sure if the girl in the picture with him is a sister of him or even his mother, but she helped out both of these two boys I mentioned in this post as they were taking turns. You could tell that she cared for them and that these two little ones were very special to her.
As we ran out of bubbles, we let them all know that we had to go, but we would be back another time to play again.
My time is Africa was filled with so many amazing experiences. Many people go there for the animals, but I am glad that I was able to spend a month living among these people. It was truly a humbling experience to be around people who had so little, but were filled with so much life and love for one another. It is something we can all learn from them.