If you read my last post, I ended with a cliffhanger (thanks to years of watching Dynasty) that surely left you tuning back for more of this tantalizing blog. 🙂
When we parted, the slightly quirky, but enthusiastic leading lady (me) was sitting on a boulder feeling the stare of another. Who could it be…her potential Prince Charming? A robber who would squelch her belief in humanity? A rabid dog seeking revenge for years of disdain against his species? Or…something much less dramatic? Yep…that would be the answer.
I turned my gaze from the ocean to find a young girl looking my way. When I caught her curious eye, she giggled and scurried behind a wall….only to return a few seconds later with her hand tightly clinging to a similarly giggling companion. We played a few minutes of “I see you” with our eyes and laughed every time we matched glances. Soon, the girls were off again, only to return with mom and older girl in tow being pushed to meet the stranger in their midst. I learned their first names, Fatima, Fatima, and Fatima….and watched them smile as I struggled to pronounce their middle names. I enjoyed our time together and told them that I would try to visit tomorrow when I went for my morning walk. Mama Fatima said, “You will come to my home tomorrow,” as I began my hour-long trek back to my hotel.
The next day, I was excited to pack some of the children’s trinkets I brought, along with a few treats sent by friends, and head out—this time in exactly the same direction as the day before. As I neared the house, with a friend named Muhammad who joined me along the way, I realized that they had prepared for my visit. The lovely Fatimas were eagerly waiting to escort me to the patio chairs arranged for tea. We were joined by an older girl who took the day off of school to meet me (apparently all high schoolers know how to work the day-off angle) and a nearby neighbor who also decided to drop by for tea.
I was happy to distribute gifts that were sent by my friends Greg, Michael, and Kathy…what an honor to deliver kindness on their behalf. The money they sent will be especially helpful because of the limited livelihood for fishermen during monsoon season. I shared pictures of my home and gave their mom one of Jackie’s lovely Chicago necklaces. Our verbal communication was a challenge, but they brought a photo album for me to see and the tea was sweetly divine. My new young friends sang songs and snapped pictures with my phone as we enjoyed the ocean breeze. The kids scrounged their home and brought me gifts from their own collections of seashells, bracelets, and knick knacks. They shared stories of days by the sea, a recent working visit to Kuwait, and other stories that I couldn’t understand, but made me smile because of their cheerful storytelling skills.
We leisurely passed a few hours together and as we said goodbye, I promised to return as they blew kisses until I was out of view. What struck me most was how happy everyone seemed in this small house in a remote fishing village. No big deck….no big grill…no big fuss…just lots of love. That’s the souvenir I’m taking from my morning beach walks in Sri Lanka.