I have been aware for a while now how easy it can be in Australia to not inquire about people I do not know when I am chatting with them by chance. An example of this is when I am running a stall at the local markets of a Saturday morning. We sell things from Ghana and a lot of people are interested in my connection to Ghana. As we finish our conversation and they walk away we part happily but I often realise I have not asked them anything about themselves. It gets quite tiring and boresome at times to only talk about myself.
Today at the markets I made a special effort to ask people about themselves too. I met some lovely people and I think they appreciated me taking an interest in them too.
One lady has a very small stall there. She has just begun making jewelery. It’s simple necklaces and bracelets for kids, pocket money stuff, but a few weeks ago her stall was next to mine, it was both of our first market days, and she confessed how insecure she was and she was learning and just wanted to make a little money to cover the cost of her stock so she could continue. I admire that kind of journey.
I know her a little. A few years ago I taught her son when he was eleven. He was a troubled child, borderline Aspergers I felt, and I worked hard all year to get her in to school and taking an active interest in her son’s schooling. Her son and I got along, despite his social awkwardness. He never came to excursions or camps. He spent his afternoons and weekends on his Nintendo because he found it so difficult communicating and interacting appropriately with other kids. He told me his mother, the lady now with her small jewelery stall, had endured miscarriage after miscarriage. He wanted more than anything to have a sibling. I knew from others his parents also smoked to much gunja and did not always speak appropriately to their son. Anyway… the next year his mum was pregnant and gave birth to a girl. Her daughter is a lovely, gentle girl, probably like her mum was when young, and now mum is following a hobby and trying to create something out of it. It seems so important to her.
Today we were at opposite ends of the market but, following my rule today of inquiring after people, I went up to her at the end of the day and asked her how she was going and if she’d had a good day, had she sold many things? She has been getting a lot of encouragement from her little stall and I am glad I could contribute to that. I felt good and so did she. I really hope she is able to continue and build a small business out of it.
This is a part of Sisterhood. Recognising where it may be important to another woman to hear a kind word of encouragement.
My goal is to try to remember to ask about others a little more often that I do.
The Community Markets