I took out the last of my llama keychains today. I was telling the L5SW girls that the colored ones were from this little boy who persuaded me to buy it.
When we fell quiet after our lively chatter this morning, the scene in Cusco crept to my mind again – it was a night dimly lit, the crowd was excited and the fireworks erupted in the festive air. I sat down for awhile, to catch a short rest from my incessant walking the entire day. He came up to me, and his tiny fingers clutched my arm. His other hand dangled the chain of llamas at me. He mumbled something I didn’t quite understand. Cuanto cuesta? I asked.
I bought 5, reluctantly because I had already bought so many from Bolivia. But what I remember is those clammy small hands against my skin, tiny fingers that skillfully opened the ring to pick out the ones I chose, his dark untaut skin vaguely reflecting the street light.
His little sister, younger than he was, came up to him awhile after, and I saw his mother coming up with other merchandises as I walked away.
While I do not want to pick on assumptions, I wondered: Would a parent allow so (even with cultural acceptance) if not under specific circumstances? How does my childhood fare in comparison?
Along the ride in Indonesia I saw people selling souvenirs and toys and food by the roads while the cars stopped. I couldn’t help thinking about the traffic light stops in south am. To me, it’s interesting that miles and hours away on another continent, the practices are similar. Just like that one magic trick of people ‘floating’ in the air as they sat on their metal rods with a plain cloth draped over.