We go on a quick tour of their place of education. Everything is at the bare minimum. The stark contrast in facilities which I grew up with in Perth, Australia make me feel something sickening I hadn’t really felt before. I had never been able to truly appreciate how much of my life I took for granted until now. I suddenly feel selfish for spending so much of my childhood with such a small perspective of the world. My mind races off to past memories of me complaining about not getting enough ice cream or being upset about going on holiday to Europe because i’d be away from school friends. All of this comes crashing into my consciousness whilst still on the tour with Anoor and his friends. By the end of our tour, he offers to show me his village. I politely ask him if this is an authentic offer of kindness or if this is an offer of business.
Travel tip: Being clear about expectations with people who appear ‘friendly’ and ‘our new best friend’ is not disrespectful, if anything it’s respectful of their time and energy. Many locals will continue to show you places with the expectation that you will pay them at the end. Asking them upfront about their intention can slightly disrupt a piece of the social romance but it heavily reduces the chance of being placed in an awkward situation later. The negatives outweigh the positives in this case.
He says it is an honour to be able to practice his English with another native English speaker. I agree to continue, we jump on the bike and he guides me to his village as the unsealed road crackles beneath the motorbike tires. His friends follow us around for most of the journey. A young boy on his oversized bicycle is especially excited by the experience. This kid is pushing himself to his physical limits riding up the sandy hill staying along side us on his push-bike. I’m sure he’s going to sleep well tonight. We arrive a couple minutes later and walk through the small woven streets lined with mud houses painted sky blue.
After showing me his village, Anoor kindly says “Ok Peter, I will need to go back to the cricket match now but if you like I would be happy to invite you to meet my parents for lunch”.
Feeling humbled by his offer I say “That sounds like a great idea Anoor. When and where should we meet?”
He thinks for a moment then replies “3:00pm we can meet at the cricket pitch and we can go together”.
This boy is probably no older than 14 years old and he is confident and loving enough to show me his town completely free and then proceed to invite me back to his family’s home for lunch! “Wow what incredible initiative & maturity” I think to myself.
I drive him to the field and then drive off in the direction of some old ruins I had heard were not to be missed.