I made fast friends with a cute, little three-year-old in Deschappelles, Haiti yesterday at a mobile health post put on by Hôpital Albert Schweitzer. Her name is Natasha. How do I know that? It’s because her mother kept calling her name time and time again telling her to stop getting into things. Although her mother spoke Creole, every mother on earth (no matter the language) understands when another mother is scolding her child. After her mom told her to stand still, Natasha would be good for a split second, twittering her thumbs waiting for the precise moment to break free again. And every time Natasha would sneak away and start getting into things. It wasn’t anything heavy – just being a precocious three-year-old with wide eyes and a zest for discovering new things and having fun under the Haitian sun.
About an hour after I was at the health post interviewing mothers and taking photos Natasha discovered me and my camera! So, of course, I took her picture. This one:
And then I showed Natasha her beautiful face.
She looked at herself for a moment and then it dawned on her slowly that the person she was looking at was her. She bent down looking…looking…looking and then she squealed and ran away.
I could tell Natasha is a curious child and predictably she came back toward me with a little apprehension like I was a witch with a magic tool in my hand. She started touching my feet and looking at me suspiciously. So, I showed her her face again. This time she looked at it more pensively. Then — being the leader she clearly is — she wanted to share it with her friends.
Up came two others who also wanted to see what kind of magic black thing I had in my hand. I took their photo and showed them. And they all squealed and jumped up and down! And they wanted more and more. But, I told them in my broken French to go back to their parents so they could get their check-ups.
And that’s what they did.
And, once they were done, one by one, they grabbed their parent’s hand and left.