Monday, December 7, 2015

Size 12 Laughter

My final dump memory, experience this trip was pretty awesome. It was 6pm, I had left my cameras and completed film in Khun Noy's truck. My intention was to give away a final bag of clothes with 4 cans of fish, my personal size 12 rubber boots and the 2 hats I used this trip.

The one series of shacks that were the closest belonged to a family I knew well. This same family I had given a set of used safety boots from Canada. Those boots were only size 8s and too small for the father of the house who I photographed trying to wear them working in the garbage. The father had indicated to me that they were too small. I figured I could give my boots to him even thou they would probably be at least 2 sizes too big. This man is the hardest worker I witnessed in the dump so I thought he would put them too good use.

I approached the house in semi darkness, there was a woman sitting on a small chair with her back to me. I coughed so she knew I was there and said "Ming Gau Lau Bau" (hello) she turned and smiled I then held up the bag with fish and clothes and placed it on the floor of her shack. As I did this the father of the house, the man I knew quite well rose up. He had been napping in the shadows.

When the father saw me and realized who I was a huge smile covered his face. This man had always been restrained in his behavior to me. Now thou he grinned from ear to ear showing many missing and betal nut red stained teeth. He said "Ming Gau Lau Bau" to me and waied me as well (a sign of respect).  I smiled back returned his courtesies and started to remove my boots and put on my sandals. Then the laughter started, this restrained and extremely hard working man (like my father) started giggling and outright laughing with joy like a 9 year old. It was so sweet and genuine that it surprised me. As I took off the first boot I placed it on the ground next to his bare foot comparing the sizes. He quickly tried it on and both of us  plus the woman laughed at how big they were. As a final gesture I took off the hat I was wearing and placed it on the white bag of clothes to renewed smiles and giggling.

Then I turned said "Da da!" (Goodbye) and left. As I walked away in the darkness to my waiting ride I could hear excited talk and general happiness behind me. It was a perfect way to end my 13 days in the dump, a beautiful memory.

Note* I should have actually been waiing the father of the house first as he was older than I was, but he was kind enough and being very respectful to me by waing me first.