Making the journey to this village was a bit of an adventure. It is quite a distance from the main road. A bus bumping along these crater-filled roads with a white woman on it was quite a departure from the normal traffic of children walking to get water and the occasional bicycle. We must have been a peculiar site!
As we passed mud hut after mud hut, I noticed a pattern of response from the dust-covered children we passed. When they heard the bus coming, they would run to the edge of the road with a stoic, confused expression. But, as soon as they caught my eye and I smiled and waved, their faces lit up! It must have happened over a hundred times! Confusion, recognition, connection - time after time.
This went on for over an hour and made me consider the power of a smile. It was a mood-changer, for sure. But it also is a connection-maker. When your eyes lock and you share a smile, you are connected, if only for a moment. But that moment lasts. You move on, whether it's by walking past or bumping along in a bus, but you've shared something for that brief time. And the little bit of happiness you shared can change a day.
As I looked out the back of the bus, I could see kids stay by the side of the road until we had faded into the distance. Then they most likely returned to what they were doing before the interruption - playing with siblings, helping their mother weed a garden, washing plastic dishes from a recent meal - but I have to believe they felt a tiny bit different for awhile. I know I did!
So make it a mission to share your smile today. You never know who needs it. And it just might change YOUR day as well!