As I’m typing this I have a contented smile on my face. Why? Well, aside from the sounds of my hummers happily devouring their morning treats from my feeders, and the sight of my sweet dog laying at my feet happily snoozing, I just had the most heartwarming conversation with one of our workers. Federico, I must admit, is one of our favorites….I know, we shouldn’t have favorites, but we just can’t help it. I think the others may have noticed this because they harass him all the time that we have adopted him and call him Federico Carter! hahahah! He’s a young indigenous guy, about mid 20’s. He just came out to the terrace where I’m sitting with my coffee to tell me how happy he is today.
With a smile on his face, not at all embarrassed by his two missing front teeth, (the indigenous love to fight and the loss of teeth seems to be almost a badge of honor…shrug ), he explains that he has moved to a new place. Scott had already told me this, but I let him tell me his good news as though I had not heard it already. The place he moved to his higher up on the mountain above our property. He already lived up the hill from us and is the only one of our workers who walks to work in the morning, the other 7 guys I drive down into town to pick up everyday. He told me that the new living situation is so much better and that he is so happy.
As he told me his good news he was beaming with happiness and it warmed my heart and made me so happy too. It’s just so sweet that he wanted to tell me that he is happy, wanted to share his happiness with me. Sigh… I told him, in my broken Spanish, “Ohhhhh Federico, caundo tu feliz, yo feliz tambien.” He walked back into the house to continue his work and as I watched him walk off with that toothless smile I thought I just had to share his happiness with you! Such a relatively simple thing, a new place to live, and yet this young man felt so happy he just had to share it with someone. His walk to our property everyday is much longer now, probably by another 30 minutes or so, but no matter, he is still ever so grateful for a better place to call home. He told me that the longer walk would be good exercise, hah!
There’s so much that I love about this experience of living in Central America but sometimes its the most simple things like this that touch my heart the most. When I talk to my daughter who is about the same age as Federico, and I hear about the things that make her happy I can’t help but see the vast difference between the two young adults and what they expect out of their lives. Don’t get me wrong, my observations are in no way meant to compare their lives in order to cast judgment on or to see one as better or worse. I just can’t help but see two young adults, who’s lives are so vastly different simply because of where they were born. Very seldom does my daughter contact me to express that something so seemingly simple has made her deeply happy. I just don’t think that Federico expects much from his life to actually bring him happiness. Not that he is an unhappy person, but life is much more about just basic survival than about frivolous happiness. He lives his days to provide for himself the basics, food and shelter being the very bare necessities and providing for his family on the Comarca being the priority.
He would never even consider the idea of wanting a car or owning much in the way of material possessions at all. He doesn’t want a TV or a fitbit, or a stereo or an iPhone. What he wants in life is just so very different and so seemingly simple from what most young adults need in order to tell someone how very happy they are. I find this so endearing and it touched my heart and made me think about just one more thing about life here that I love. These are just my observations. Not judgments on what’s right or wrong. Just me, observing this young man and feeling so honored that he felt the desire to share his good news with me this morning. Never have I seen a happier toothless grin than the one on Federico’s face this morning! I hope his happiness brings a smile to your face too…