I’m on a trip to Dominica, a tiny country of 70,000 where I find myself surrounded by the village children. They are as drawn to me as I am to them. There is a child named Caitlin with whom a share mutual adoration. For 3 days we are inseparable.
Are you my cousin?
Caitlin assuming we are somehow related, as many people in the tiny village of Wesley are, asks if we are cousins. I say that we basically are through close family friends. Then she asks me why my lips are pink. I smile as I take a deep breath. There is no tone of hate, racism, or fear, she is simply curious. I give her a scientific explanation about skin, pigmentation, and each person’s body is an expert adapter to their own specific land of origin. She has never seen freckles, white skin, or pink lips before. Despite all that, she believes I can be part of her family. She is 6 years old. My heart bubbles over with love for her.
Will you teach me?
Caitlin maybe sensing that I am an educator follows me from place to place asking questions and receiving very in-depth explanations about how Soduku works and this and that. Then she catches me doing my yoga practice on the deck. She finds me in headstand. She is amazed. She is curious. She is pulling up a kitchen rug beside the one I am using as a makeshift yoga mat. We are suddenly in a yoga class, just she and I.
Caitlin has never seen a classic headstand before this moment. I decide I must teach her the step by step. I don’t usually teach children a pose so advanced but Caitlin is very strong and stands sturdy and tall for her six years. It’s just to two of us so I know I can keep her safe. On her second try, she gets up (with a little help from me.) “I will show my daddy.”
A trip across the land
I am on an adventure on the last day of Carnival. Our van stops to let us explore a waterfall. Tiny kittens greet us as we pass through the threshold. This is a national treasure and yet the sign is hand painted in rainbow colors. The signage is art and inspiration. It’s not at all commercial. There is no one collecting money or tickets. Above the entrance in rainbow colors are the words “we are one human family.” I start to understand the people better from this. I think back to Caitlin assuming we are related. We all are.