I gain more of an understanding of this community called Quatro with every new day. The differences are endless and all the newness is beautiful. Countless encounters daily could lead me to my pen and journal or my keyboard and monitor. The basic routine of day is broken for all people when someone passes by on the street. Stares, judgments, murmur: these are of no existence here. Rather, an obvious effort to acknowledge and embrace everyone is made a priority to these people.
Often stolen of its purpose intended by the rotting and missing teeth it reveals, smiles are given to me, complete with intense eye contact for personalization. This smile was formed for you, my new friend.
And I will never walk alone…I am greeted and joined within my first three or four steps on Quatro terrain by street kids; somewhere between one and twenty-five of them. If all ten of my fingers are taken up, thank You Lord for giving me two legs to hold on to, two wrists to grab, a back and two sides to touch; and thank you for the room on each of these for two or three little hands to share if need be. The two or twenty-six of us trudge along together, all linked by touch. Not even knowing or caring where I am headed, they just join me on the journey. Just for the ride.
The distance that should make for a forty-second walk soon becomes forty minutes of bad attempts at conversation that resort to competitive games of pickle in the middle. For now, my new friends and I find our understandings for each other on the playing field through laughter and scraped knees. And when it is time for me to wrap up the game and continue on my way, I get even more friends than I had before because I take out my camera. Not often do I capture genuine faces and expressions in a picture, each child transforms his self into a model with hilarious, but sweet trademarked poses. Through the front they put up, their spirit shines through: in their toothless smiles, in their powerful eye contact, in their laughter when I try and communicate, and in their unity with each other as this true community called Quatro. I only pray they know the true beauty they portray.