The memories we’d, collected on this journey that we’d, shared from before, translated…
The child I’d sponsored from Guanxi, Ping sent the message of, “Mr. Yao, these are my feet. I hadn’t walked barefoot like this for a very long time, I recall how back when you’d taken us on that trip, we’d rode our bicycles for ten whole hours around Er Sea, rode uphill for a long time, and, after we’d rushed back to Dali to return the bicycles, we’d walked barefoot. That sense of coolness, that a scent of feeling satisfied with life, that I really missed.”
There were, NO photos which he mentioned attached, I’d waited a long time, and finally, wrote him back, “Without any picture, so, you’re having me, to imagine what your two stinky bare feet looked like, is that it?”
like this, not my photograph…
“Ahhhhhhhh, the cell phone which Shan gave to me to use, a lot of the functions don’t work.” “Mr. Yao, I’d, lost my photographs!” “Mr. Yao, do you know how those photos got lost?”
This string of messages from Ping, I’m already, used to.
“Fine, I’ll call, you just, talk to me then, tell me about those bare feet you’d missed so much about then”.
“Today is the last day of our vacation, I’d originally planned to ride back to school on the bus, but, I thought, I hadn’t walked from home back into town, so, I’d, walked instead. It’d been a long time since I’d come this way, my legs grew sore by the time I Because then, I’d, started to cry.” “Ahhh? What? How are the two events related?” “Because I was resting, I’d recalled how we’d ridden the bikes at Er Sea in Dali, I thought of how hard you’d peddled, riding uphill, haha!” “That isn’t the point, do skip it.” “Oh, we’d arrived right before the bicycle shop was about to close, returned the bikes, everybody was beat, we’d sat outside the shops, drinking soda, panting. Then, Mr. Yao took his shoes, his socks off, we’d modeled after you, but, your feet were, the stinkiest………” “You must be planning on paying my international calls, right, Ping X Meng”
Ping fell silent on the other end of the line, “Mr. Yao, that, was the very first time I’d ever felt, satisfied!”
He’d spoken the word “satisfied” so very, maturely, sturdy, and, with a strong sort of intention. This child from the Yao tribe, was only in the fourth grade when I first met him back at Homefront, and now, he’s, in the third year of junior high. He’d loved performing, dancing, photography, also enjoyed writing poetry, scripts, and essays as well, he’d kept at all of these interests, and because of all of this, he’d become, a star, in his local middle school, where the Yao tribe was considered from lesser backgrounds. He’d called me “master” as a joke, I’d joked back, a lot of people, once they’d become stars, they’d, forgotten their humble beginnings, what master, what home, you’d also be forgetting about all of those younger kids at the home too.” “Mr. Yao, you had, underestimated me, I will be a small star who knows his beginnings”, I’d replied, “oh,” coldly back to him.
“Mr. Yao, I walked out of Home to the rubble fields, to the point my legs felt sore, heated, then, I’d, taken my shoes off, walked barefoot, it’d felt, very stable, I’d felt, very satisfied with everything. Every step I walked, it’d, reminded me of how you’d taken us on that trip for an entire month by food, from Home to Nanning, then, to Dali, Yunnan, Chengdu, Sichuan, to Shanxi, Sian, Datong in Shanxi, Loyang in Henan………I’m truly grateful, that you’d, shown me this much of the world. One day, I hope, that I’ll be able to, walk this long and this far by myself.”
a shared experience between adult and child…photo found online…
“Ping, why did this heartfelt sentiment of your gratitude come three years late? And, so suddenly too.”
“Ahhhhhhh, I felt bashful, saying all of this to you at our last shared stop. Some things, needed to get fermented by time. But, Mr. Yao………”
I’m guessing, that Ping was about to say something so odd, that’s going to make anybody roll her/his eyes, but, he’d, tossed a summation toward me, “Barefoot and being satisfied all had feet in them, don’t you think, that’s, interesting?”
“Good find. But, first, you should, pay up the international phone call first!”
So, this, would be how much of an affect this man had on one of the kids he’d mentored, and, the child here, shared with the mentor his findings, and, it’s, generally very difficult, for children to open up to an adult these days, and yet, this man was able to establish rapport with this group of children he’d worked with, to have them, open up to him…