It had been too long since I went to the slum in the afternoon for the grand rodeo aka rounding up children to go to an afternoon school program at a near by private school. I was walking down towards one of the homes and there she was. On the other side of the tracks she sat on piled up cement pillars, the remnants of a railroad track upgrade. She yelled happily her greeting and though she was far from me I could see a bright grin filling her face, her hands wildly waving a hello. As we gathered some of the school-aged girls and started walking on the tracks to meet the others, there the little girl was. I asked her name, one of the other children told me, I greeted her then kept walking on by.
Down the road, Lismore called to me "We have a little follower!" I turned around to see her following shyly a few steps behind. The excited, huge smile she wore in the slum had disappeared, replaced by quiet determination and serious interest in what we were up to. She appeared too young for school, and I know there was not permission given from the parents even if she was the proper age. Not wanting to leave her to find her way back on her own, I told the others to walk on ahead and that I would catch up after dropping her back off in the slum.
I grabbed little Munmun's hand and turned to go to her home. I gazed at her as we went and wished I could do more to show her I cared, I wanted to scrub her little face and feet, I wanted her to know she is loved but couldn't come up with anything there in that moment. Along we walked when she suddenly stopped and knelt down. Something had caught her eye there in the crevice between the sidewalk and the street where a lot of guck and discarded items tend to accumulate. A flash of a moment later, her eyes turned brightly to me and there was that beautiful grin again, lighting up her face. She held up her treasure for me to examine: A single snap pea, perfectly unshelled in its pod. She grasped her precious item tightly in her right hand, and we continued to walk until I delivered her home. I looked down to her and thought "no Mumun, no school for you just yet" but aren't the steps towards there worth it? You never know what tiny bit of goodness may come along in your path.