I was out the other day, walking through an interesting area, when I ran across a couple of interesting women. The first was a woman selling garlic. She was walking through the neighbourhood calling out, “Garlic! Garlic for sale!”. It was a cold day with snow on the ground, and she was loaded down with a heavy bag on her back, as well as carrying the braids of garlic in her hand. As she neared, I stopped her to ask how much a braid was (less than $1!). We talked for a bit, and when I asked if she would mind if I took her picture, she smiled, put down her bag, carefully buttoned up her coat (what buttons were left, anyways) and then stood proudly, holding her garlic braids, waiting for me to take the photo. I took the photo, and thanked her. She grabbed my hand with hers and I noticed the dirt covering her worn, cold hands. She smiled warmly and I thanked her again as I held her hands in mine. Such a warm, lovely woman, who obviously works hard, and likely is very poor and has very little.
I came across the second woman as I was walking home. She stood outside the door of her home, just standing, watching, waiting, in the glow of the late afternoon sun. I took her photo as she stood there and then went up to talk to her, but she motioned with her hands towards her ears that she could not hear. A boy nearby told me that she was 81 years old! She wore a traditional hat and scarf and was so tiny, dwarfed by the door and nearby trees. I wondered what stories she would tell if we had been able to communicate. I motioned my thanks to her with the traditional greeting of my hand to my heart, and left, saddened by the weary and sad expression on her face. She who is obviously very cut off from the world by her inability to hear.
I so enjoy meeting the people in this wonderful place. Their lives are so different from mine in so many ways, and yet they are the same in so many ways as well. We all desire to be loved and to love, to be told we are special. Who knows what life has been like for these two women? But I was honored to meet them and share even just a few minutes with them.