Leilani / by Alan Strathman

This is Leilani.  She is a 3rd grader at the girls' school in my village, which is right across the street from my house.  She lives in Laborie, not far from Mama Ju, my host mom, with whom I lived for my first three weeks in Laborie.  Her mom, Denise, owns a rum shop (Kabawé in the local patois), which is another word for a bar.  Mama Ju and Denise are also cousins.  In a small village like this, where most people who are born here never leave, everyone is related to everyone else. Think one degree of separation.

Anyway, I started tutoring Lani a while ago.  Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I walk down the High Street until I come to Denise's rum shop and usually find Lani and Denise sitting at a table near the bar.  Denise is often braiding or unbraiding Lani's hair.

Lani is the cutest little girl in the world.  And really bright.  Tutoring her is a pleasure.  She often takes my reading glasses off my head and puts them on, as she has done in these pictures, and just leaves them on. In these pictures she has also put my sun hat on.  And, no surprise, they both look better on her than me.