Monday, March 31, 2008
Where are the Children's Smiles
Our first day in Luxor would soon become busy, very busy. But, before heading out to our ceremonies, I thought it prudent, to first take a picture of the Temple of Luxor, which was just across the street from our hotel balcony. As I look at it now I cannot help but marvel at the view. They say one picture is worth a thousand words. But in this case that is not correct. My picture is trivial compared to what is truly there.
These buildings were constructed 4,000
years ago. Our visit across the road will last not even a blink, in the life of the temples.
We have come to visit a track club on the other side of the Nile. It is after school and the kids are preparing for an upcoming meet. The kids are barefoot and the track is in questionable condition. I have spotted a herd of sheep making their meandering way down one side as the kids start laps on the other. Our little Harmony run team of 3 arrives there at dusk, in the middle of a hard workout.
Everything stops for our little ceremony. We have a translator who translates into Arabic, Rastia's talk. We have the kids guess each of the countries we come from. The kids enjoy this.
They also enjoy when we sing the World Harmony run song. The kids are very attentive. This may be the first time that foreigners have come to their school.
As I look at these pictures now, several weeks later, I wonder if I have somehow made a mistake somewhere. I clearly remember the kids smiling for us, and having a good time. Yet as I look now I can find few smiles.
I realize that the smiles will come later. After we have spent time with the kids the next day. We will spend nearly a full day with a small group and we will gradually got to become friends.
On this night the young athletes take turns caring the torch around their rugged track. It is hard for them to hold back. Each time one gets a hold of the torch they start to surge in front of the others. There is just so much energy.
On this side most of the track has just disappeared. It cannot be from rain, and I did not dare to ask the coach. I could not imagine how these barefoot kids could train here and yet they do. It is also very clear their dedication to training in all the disciplines of track and field.
We pose for group pictures after all have had their turn with the torch. As I look at this picture now, after not seeing it for a few weeks I think I can solve the mystery of the missing smiles. The kids felt like athletes who were representing their country in front of the world. In this case 3 guys from far away. They were proud of their athleticism and I think wanted to demonstrate it with dignity.
This then is another photo which doesn't show the whole picture. Click on this picture to see if I am right.