Listening for the Alien Heartbeat

They had been following along behind me at a respectful distance for about a kilometre.  Respectful only in the sense that at that distance they could laugh at me a bit more freely.  My jumping over streams rather than walking right through them, my backpack, my walk stick, my loping walk,…

Madagascar - Forest - kids on walkFinally they drew up level with me and said Salaama (hello).
They asked me where I was going – a place about 10km down the road.
They asked me where I came from –  I said I lived in China.
Did I speak Chinese?  Yes.  This cut no ice with them.
Did I speak English?  Yes.  That met with their approval.

We walked along a few kms together and when our paths diverged I asked if I could take their picture.  They said ok and the girl pulled off her head scarf so she would look prettier.

I did not have my camera handy so I took a picture with my phone.  The boy asked if I would send them a copy.  I asked him to write his address, but neither of us had a pen.  So I asked him for his email address (I was thinking he might have one at school).

No , he looked at me glumly, no email.  Where he lived I am guessing also had no electricity – I had certainly seen no wires in a while – so email was a luxury twice removed.

Madagascar - Forest - kids on walk - 2I asked how far their village was:  “15 km”.
“That will take a long time”, I said.
No he said: “We will walk fast”.

Only later did I notice that my picture did not include what stood out the most:  their feet.

I was in big boots, suitable for this rough, scarred road, and their feet were bare.

Equally clear, from looking at their feet, they owned no shoes.

2 Responses to “A Luxury Twice Removed”

Wild Agreement, Disputations, Outright Laughter...

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