“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
It’s the small things, really.
I have this lady I always go to for bananas. She’s always given me a fair price, right from the beginning, even though she knew I was a foreigner. Her stand is right next to my bus stop in the capital, and she sits outside – in rain, in cold, on holidays, on weekends – selling candies, cookies, pastries, oranges, and bananas. (Although, when temperatures get too cold in the winter, she has to stop selling bananas because they go bad.) And every time I go into the capital, I stop to buy bananas from her.
When my parents were in town, I stopped at her stand. Seeing my parents standing behind me (and recognizing they were foreigners; it’s the “curse of the obvious Americans,” we are obviously foreigners wherever we go) she asked, “Your mom and dad?” Yep! They’ve come from the U.S. to visit!, I answered, all smiles.
The next time I was in town buying bananas, she said, with a smile, that I’m her most loyal customer. Poftim, banane.
And every time I visit, she sees me and smiles and says hello.
You see, it’s just a great thing to be known, to be recognized. Not just for the fact that you’re obviously a foreigner, but because you’re part of a community. It’s engaging in more than just a business transaction. And I love that I get to help support her livelihood.
She is my banana lady.
(For any local readers, she’s the stand sitting right on the corner of Tighina and Columna. Tell her the other Americanca sent you.)