Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meet the kids of Phayong Village

When we first got to Phayong Village we walked down the small dirt street (the only street in the village), and the kids would come to the edge of the road and watch us.  These kids were very shy; content to smile and wave from a safe distance.  In many towns and countries children learn or are forced to beg.  They follow you, expecting handouts.  Not in Phayong.  These children stood there showing us we would have to prove to them we were worth playing with.

We continued walking and saw kids playing with plastic bottles, throwing chickens, rolling down a hill with a homemade scooter board, and competing in a form of hopscotch.  Groups of kids playing with very little, but laughing and having a good time despite it all.  Their clothing was torn and tattered, many younger kids wore no pants, most wore no shoes as they ran through dirt and rocks.  Some had smaller children by the hand or strapped onto their backs, clearly the designated caretaker of their younger family members (even if they themselves were only 5 and still needing to be cared for).


As we walked back to where we would be sleeping, a girl cautiously walked to the road with three bananas in her hand.  With lots of encouragement from her mom, she reached out as far as she could to hand us each one of the bananas, careful to not get too close.  As soon as we each had our fruit, she quickly she ran away smiling (the next day, deciding after the banana incident that we aren't actually too scary, she came right up to us smiling).  Later, as dinner was being cooked, we played peekaboo, ran a toy truck around and played the "take a picture of me quick so I can see myself in the display" game.  All without talking of course, because between the three of us with our odd assortment of foreign words, none overlapped with their Hmong language.  Luckily laughing is the same worldwide.

We loved these kids.  It would be hard not to, I mean, look at these faces:

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