If you’ve followed my ruminations from past trips, you may remember a little fellow by the name of Felipe.
Felipe showed up again on this trip. I was pleased with what I found.
This precocious (“wild”) kid (teenager now) threatened my sanity a year and a half ago and made me consider the possibility of killing someone four years ago. I’ll admit that I didn’t think he was redeemable. In January 2006 I discovered that he was very redeemable and discovered the wonderful side of a kid I’d previously wanted to strangle.
Felipe shyly appeared at my side on Monday afternoon. I made a big deal of seeing him, hugged him and carried on over him. He enjoyed it. Tuesday and yesterday he appeared, hanging on the fringe of the activity. I’d make a point of it to single him out and chat with him, peppering him with questions about his life. He’s a hard nut to crack — I already knew a lot about him and some of his struggles — and he really didn’t volunteer any information to my sneaky fishing expeditions for details about his life. But it didn’t stop me from continually trying.
He wasn’t letting anyone take pictures of him so I ran up and grabbed him from behind and held him while he squirmed, pretending to want to get free from me. I shouted out to someone standing by with a camera to “quick! shoot me and Felipe!” and was rewarded with multiple shots of a really cute kid who was trying to disguise his enjoyment of the attention he was receiving.
Felipe is the archetype of what these trips are all about. What you see isn’t what you get; it’s all hidden. You have to dig, persistently, in order to be rewarded with the “gold.” As with Felipe, so these trips… gold is to be had in them thar hills.
This morning as we begin packing up the bus at 5:30 a.m., guess who came riding up on his bike to the farmhouse that is a mile away from the village. Yep, Felipe.