I’m being a bit haphazard here and skipping back to an earlier post today… I misplaced a camera chip that featured a two more of the artisans who were working and selling at the medieval market that took place on the weekend of the 27th August in Vila Nova de Cerveira.
Today I found the chip at the bottom of the side pocket of my camera bag (looked before there but missed it the first time) so I’m taking the time to re-visit these two artisans because both were friendly and delightful and because they made a real impression on me.
Neither spoke more than three words of English and my ten words of Portuguese didn’t go particularly far but sign language and smiles are international and we made do most excellently with both.
Himself has taken the kids and his excellent Portuguese language talent to the tapas restaurant restrooms for an urgent kid pit-stop, and they wanting to take the short route back to the car afterwards, this was my opportunity to negotiate the one side street full of market stalls that I had not yet seen, so I nipped off to have a look around and will meet up with them at the car.
Two stalls in particular stood out… and this post is about the broom seller.
It was instantly clear this this man suffered from a substantial learning problem, his words came out slurred and with great difficulty, but he had a very willing (and very noticeably toothless) smile and when he wasn’t attempting to engage with potential customers he was sitting on a stool constructing a new brooms before my eyes.
The process is swift, his hands dexterously show that he has done this before, probably thousands of times and the head of the broom takes shape with a speed and ease that makes it looks easy.
I know enough about handwork to know that when it looks that easy it definitely isn’t… if I were ever silly enough to try this, I’d be all fingers and thumbs and people would br cracking up with laughter.
He made a great impression on me because in spite of a clear and profound communication disability, he had found a skill and was attempting to make the very best of it in spite of it.
If you could only have heard him attempting to speak you would understand how painful it must be to put yourself “out there” on full show and in full view the market place and public with this kind of impediment. I’m not one brave enough to stand and speak in public willingly at any time, so this man earned my utmost respect for doing this and you know what, his handcrafted brooms were amazing too.
Bravo to this man for not only learning a skill that hopefully helps him to make a living, but for also having the courage to actually set up a stall and do the selling himself. He is a wonderful example of someone who’s trying hard to look at all the positives in life and not just dwelling on the negatives.
He might have every reason and excuse to use this profound communication problem to not participate fully in life or work, but it’s clear that he has no intention of letting his difficulties hold him back, and for this he earns my utmost respect.
Sadly even a very beautiful a broom wasn’t going to fit into our bags for the flight home or I would have seriously been thinking about getting one.
I wanted to make a blog post about him as soon as I found my “lost” photos of him because he is the sort of person who should be an inspiration to us all.