dimanche 20 septembre 2009

A gift from the Heart... The Winnebago way

Winnebago is a small village of american Indians along the river in the North Eastern corner of the State of Nebraska in the middle of the USA. I have been associated with this for a few years, and the professional appointment spills into the social millieu as they are a people very fond of establishing relationships.
I walked into the store, I was leaving the village this evening for a very long journey, in distance but not in time, the store itself is nothing more than a few petrol pumps and a convenient store attached to it. Inside I ran into a young mother who wished to discuss the nutritional aspects of her children's diet, since availability of good food is a problem in these parts.
I was leaving the country (drive to Omaha, flight to Miami and then flight overseas). While I had Euros, Cuban CUCs, Malaysian Ringgits in my wallet, I did not have much US currency in small denominations. The young woman, her mother whose picture is in the centre of the above collage with all of her grandchildren, noticed that i was short of money for a bag of mixed nuts and i had opted for a small bag of peanuts. they had a good laugh at the situation of a doctor with no cash. We laughed together
I left the store and as I was about to get into the car, I saw the young woman, rushing out to the car with the bag of mixed nuts in her hand. She smiled and said, this is for you, doctor; and she was gone.
Outsiders always complain that Indians dont say thank you or not use that word enough, in the indian way of thinking, dont do anything expecting thanks, do it from your heart and then you wont be waiting for a thank you any way..
Something simple, but very symbolic of the relationship i have built up with the Winnebago Indians of Nebraska. I was very touched: good sign of this important journey to Miami and Kuala Lumpur and then back home to Paris... all very very far from this small, isolated community where I, a foreigner and from another culture, is made to feel at home..