Yolis and I sit together watching her new house being built. A sturdy shed-like structure is being raised up beside her previous place of living – a dark, tiny shanty made of scraps of wood and plastic and cloth. The road in front of us is a tangled mess of stones, and discarded objects – broken dolls, candy wrappers, flat tires, broken bottles, and various other unidentifiable scraps of trash. Children are yelling as they kick a soccer ball back and forth in the flattest parts of the road. Construction sounds mingle with this yelling; people are hammering, painting and cleaning as they attempt to squeeze the last bit of usefulness out of themselves before 5:00 arrives.
Yolis and I sit silently taking in the busyness of others. She is resting comfortably in my lap; her brown completion both contrasting and complimenting my fairness. Our lives are opposites; she has only known the cruelties of poverty and I the comforts of privilege and yet there is a sisterly camaraderie between us. Her eyes grow heavy in the warm sun and I gently brush her black hair out of my face. She leans back and smiles at me; we do not need a translator for this exchange.