Meet Margariette, who my friend Joanne made friends with while in Lima in December.
Joanne was in Starbucks, having a coffee with a view of the ocean when Margariette waited until the security guard’s back was turned and approached her, selling Christmas wrapping paper. Through the common language of gesture and expression, and with the help of a pocketcomms picture guide that Joanne had with her, they managed to chat for some time about their lives.
Margariette went to school in the morning and then in the afternoon, she earned money for her family by selling wrapping paper. Once she had sold all the bundles of paper for 2 sols (60 cents US or 50p UK), she was allowed to go home. Of course Joanne had to buy all the wrapping paper and then was faced with the dilemma of what to do with it. She tried to give it back to Margueritte to sell again, but the little girl wouldn’t accept it, so Joanne ended up distributing it around the other bemused Starbucks customers. Margueritte was keen to tell Joanne all about her brothers and sisters and her life in Lima and even more keen to be bought an ice cream.
Is this the essence of travel, to make connections with other people’s lives, leaving a little trace of sunshine in ours?