Sunday, 7 August 2011

He Tangata

My friend Mia has been living in Switzerland and I went and stayed with her for a few days. We caught a train from Gland, near Geneva, to Interlaken - the Queenstown of Switzerland.

The train was quite full so we had to sit with some strangers. Mia and I sat facing each other. I was next to a woman with her ear phones in and her eyes closed. Mia sat next to a man, she looked at me and made a baby motion with her hands. This young dad had his wee girl in a front pouch. She lay asleep against her fathers chest for a while.

Mia is an au pair and over the last few days she's been telling me that although she likes kids, she also likes her time off and can find children irritating when she's in "holiday mode." I felt for Mia when this wee lass started grizzeling and let out a short cry - Mia hates crying babies.

The dad opened up the pouch, kissed his daughter on the head and took out a bottle for her. Four month old Sophie spent the remainder of her time with us wooing Mia with her big, beautiful, blue eyes, staring intently at bright colours and chewing on her dad's finger to help her teeth come through.

As we watched and delighted in new, vulnerable life, and made sporadic small talk, I was reminded of the old Maori saying He aha te mea nui? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata (What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people.) I whispered it too myself and gave thanks to God for our humanity.

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