Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Friends From Far Away - A Token Of Generosity

The night had settled in at the Rarajipare, and the crisp, cold air of the high Sierra was biting at us once more. People had been chopping wood all day, in preparation for this time, and little piles were passed around, gathered on the ground and lit along the race course.


I joined a little group by the fire. It was Daniel Lieberman and his colleage Aaron Baggish, as well as some members of the organization Native Seeds. We chatted and warmed ourselves with the dancing flames, cheering every time the runners passed by.


At a certain point, I felt a little nudge on my leg. I looked down and a tiny boy, probably not more than six years old, was standing right next to me, shivering in his traditional loin cloth and blouse. I moved aside so that he could get a better spot closer to the fire and he stepped forward, remaining very close to me.


I am not used to this behavior from the Raramuri; instead, every time I meet them, they usually shy away or stay at a respectable distance, only giving me quick glances and maybe a slight nod to show me I'm being acknowledged. This boy seemed comfortable around me, and I'm sure the presence of the fire more than justified his being so close to our little group. I let him hang out for a little while, then I tried a couple words, hoping he wouldn't run away.


«It's cold, huh?»


«Yes.»


«You don't have a blanket?»


«No.»


«Would you like one?»


He raised his head and looked at me, like I had just offered a million dollars.


«Yes.»

«Wait for me here, just a moment. I'll be back.»

I went to our truck, and got one of the beautiful, hand-made polar blankets the Ponce family had so generously offered at the Born to Run Ultra Marathons last spring. It was a bright pink with yellow ribbons, just the kind of colors our friends like so much. I walked back to the fire, spread open the blanket and wrapped my little friend in it. The smile on his face said it all.


«That is very generous of you», said one of the scientists.


«No,» I answered.

«That was very generous of our running friends from far away.»










Written to honor the generosity of the Ponce family

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