My hand is sticky. I could go wash it, but I almost don't want to. Because that would be equivalent to wiping away a kiss. The little girl who grabbed my hand just made me smile. We walked down a bit of the road together. I came upon her as I walked to get a bus. She and a few of her small-sized companions were playing on the dirt road running up and down a mound sitting next to a gate. There were definitely some squeals of joy coming from that group. She was the brave one, coming right up to me, reaching for my hand, and talking to me. She spoke clearly to me, asking me two words repeatedly. Unfortunately, I didn't know what those two words meant; I could only tell that I didn't know them. She was likely trying to beg, but she obviously wasn't a beggar. Her clothes were covered in dust and shabby, but she didn't have a "poor me" face on, or show me that she wanted food like most do. I simply told her that I didn't understand her, but she didn't let go of my hand. After stopping for a moment I began to keep walking, her hand in mine, with the others following close behind. At some point she let go and a few of the others came up, grabbing at my hand. I shook each little one that came at me, greeting them all one at a time. Apparently having their desires met, the turned around and went back to play on their dirt mound. It was as I walked away that I realized that my hand was a sticky mess- likely from the little one who had been holding a sucker in his mouth. I'm not sure what had drawn them to me in the first place, maybe they really wanted something, or maybe they were simply drawn to my whiteness. But whatever the reason, they certainly brought a smile to face.
I got to the bus and sat down next to a girl, fixing my headscarf that was sliding off. The girl glanced at me and looked out the window. Then, to my shock, she turned to me and said something to me in Arabic. Caught completely off guard that she was saying something to me, I said, "Hm?" She repeated herself, and I agreed with what she said about the weather. We then proceeded to converse in Arabic, which was delightful. Most people on the busses do one of two things, ignore me, or speak to me English (which is sometimes really hard to understand). It's not often that someone tries to converse with me in Arabic if I don't speak first, but this girl was willing to try, even when I didn't understand her at first! We had a nice conversation and exchanged names and phone numbers, as is customary.
It's the moments like these that make me love life here. Both these girls showed me that it's worth the risk of being rejected to try and make a new friend and that you can make someone's day by doing so, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to learn that!