So it was a rainy night in Cusco as I anxiously awaited the morning. Each Tuesday, a few of my comrades and I trek up to a small community that sits in the mountains just outside of Cusco to join some of the local kids in a friendly game of soccer. This time, something really strange happened.
Normally, the day starts out with us joining our Peruvian lead from Project CORASON and a couple of other volunteers at the common bus stop at the bottom of the hill. From there, we negotiate a taxi to take us up the muddy rock filled road to the pueblo of Huilkarpay. It is a small community of wonderful people. They are mostly involved with agriculture, whether to sell, or to use for their own family or some combination of both.
We arrive, exit the car, compile our things, and then head up the main and only road through town to gather up the kids that are available for a time of connection. The girls do crafts, color, paint, and play a number of things with the female volunteers. They guys, well, we always play soccer-only soccer. That is what young boys in Peru are all about, soccer.
As we were heading up the road to gather the kids, we arrived to the last home in the town. There lives my little buddy Jason. This is a rambunctious young kid with some sort of blood disorder. Not sure what it is, but they almost lost him a few months back. He seems fine, but his history is always in the back of my mind. Jason has a couple of siblings. This is where the story begins.
During the previous week, as we were rounding up the kids, Liz, our Peruvian leader, was visiting with this particular family, and they asked her to check out one of their children as this child had an infection on the childs cheeks and chin. It was very painful and this child was miserable.
While Liz was checking it out, I suggested we take a picture and try to find out if we could get one of the missionary doctors to figure out the diagnosis. So Liz took a picture.
Fast forward to this morning. We arrived the same way: A taxi full of people. We walked up the road to round up kids. We ended up at the final house, and there we ran across this same little child. However, this time, the child was looking great. The infection had cleared up and there was a smile to go along with the cute little face.
The little face was a child by the name of Antaurio. I never caught on that he was a she. In fact, the father had asked if I would be the padrino of the boy. This is an honorable proposition: not to be taken lightly. Part of my responsibility as a padrino is to cut the boys hair. Now to put it into perspective, I am a father of two beautiful daughters, both with long hair. This father asked me to cut his little ones hair. I was scared. What was he thinking? He has a beautiful little girl with long black hair. She is just darling. I couldn’t cut the hair of this beautiful princess.
As I continued with my interaction, I was invited to join them next week in a special meal complete with a token guinea pig. I do not know what I am getting into, but I am sure it will be worthy of another blogpost.
So as we headed back to the soccer field, I continued in my fallible ways as I kept interacting with this little kid as if he was a girl. Princess this, princess that. Finally, Jason, Antaurio’s older brother lifts his little stubby finger, and while waiving it from side to side, said in a stern voice, “no es princessa, es varon!”-Translation-He is not a princess, he is a boy!
So there I was feeling totally inadequate. I am supposed to be a padrino. I do not even know the gender of my godchild. What an experience! I guess the moral of this story is, the only assumption that is for sure is the assumption that as long as one continues to assume, there is a high probability that those assumptions will eventually be wrong. Be careful not to assume too much!