hope in a child's face
I love this girl’s face.
On my trip to Nigeria last summer, this girl was among the group of kids who were always around, always curious about what we were doing. The kids would approach, retreat, point at us, laugh at us, talk about us, approach again, ask question after question ... so they were just like all other kids, everywhere else. It reminded me how much alike we all are when we're young and open-minded - when faith and friendliness come easy. It reminded me that our cultural differences, which sometimes seem insurmountable, are not something we’re born with, they’re something we learn as we go. We all start out the same.
Understanding this is probably my biggest takeaway from my involvement in the Iowa Nigeria Partnership. Cultural differences are fascinating … how we all go about our daily business of feeding and clothing and housing ourselves and interacting with others to do so …. we’re all doing the same things, but in such different ways. But, I’ll bet you can take any two five year olds, from anywhere in the world, put them together with a soccer ball or some crayons, and without having to try very hard they’ll figure out how to have a great time together. But, the differences that develop as we grow into our cultures can become a source of fear when we realize we don’t understand each other anymore.
The face of this girl isn’t the face of a Nigerian – it’s the face of all of us from a more innocent, accepting time. It’s a face of hope that somehow we can work our way back to that time.
Sort of a sappy sentiment from a nuke-the-whales Republican like myself, but that’s how I feel.