Saturday, February 8, 2014

Wordless Wilson

This afternoon I was sitting at the table outside, with Paige across from me at the other end. A small boy, who had been paid to wash the truck for the Vanderpools, wandered up the steps to the concrete patio-type, covered dining area. He, without a word sat beside Paige, staring at her computer screen. Then, he picked up her iPhone and began trying to figure out what the crazy device was capable of. After all, it's not like he could read what it said and know what each app's function was. Soon, he was gone.

About five minutes later, here he came again, wandering once more to Paige and finding her white-cased cell. As he attempted to navigate through the applications once more, Paige looked on smiling as his curiosity. Eventually he found his way to the camera. However, he had no idea how to actually take a picture. Paige took it from him, showing him how to capture a moment of life. Then, she turned the camera around allowing him to see himself. He looked at it and tilted his head, like my dog, Millie, does when she's trying to figure something out. After changing the camera around, he began taking tons of pictures before, what I would guess, getting bored and sitting back in his seat.

After a bit he began to whistle, and I'm not sure how he was doing it, but it was loud. After a few times, I began to mimic his whistles, that is, until he accepted the challenge and began to do patterns that I could not follow nor replicate. As I struggled to keep up, he simply stopped and began laughing. This, maybe 12 year old, boy just laughed and smiled for the first time.

Mustering up what little Haitian Creole I've learned so far, I said, "Como ou rele?" or literally, "what you call?" (what's your name?). "Wilson," he told us, though it sounded more like "wheel-sohn." Paige introduced herself, "Mweh rele Paige," followed by me, "Mweh rele Audie," and Wilson relayed the names back to us.

I sat there thinking about how this young boy and Paige had created a connection through a cell phone, and the ability to capture a part of time on it. Then, I thought about how we had communicated and created a connection through the ability to whistle, even if mine were not up to par with his. We had no idea what his name was and vice versa. Sometimes we forget how much non-verbal communication can create a relationship; how it can destroy a relationship, or how it can directly affect the hearts and minds of others. English and North American cultures are considered to be low context, whereas many others like Haiti (French included, who colonized Haiti) are considered high context cultures. High context cultures depend more on non-verbal cues in communication. By only using words to communicate, we can often miss out on an emotion of thought of an individual. The Greek culture, considered by many to have the most descriptive language in history, is considered high context. Even with such a descriptive language system, they realized the importance of non-verbal communication.

Just a thought from the day.....

Might also add that I got to see Wilson rock out to "Back in Black" by AC/DC, and he taught me a great deal of Creole words as we used Google, pointed to things, and he took me to different spots to show me what things were. It is through children like Wilson that we can know we were created in God's image (Genesis 1:26-27). His tender heart and rare smile are assurance that we have a Father above.


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