Nerey

Language is not the only form of communication. A conversation without words is a different experience. It is an exchange of ideas that bridge barriers caused by languages and culture.

As Nerey and others butchered the pigs and cows, I filmed. I was captivated.

Nerey was the first one from the group to notice the camera. He was not shy about it either. He would point or make a gesture every time I turned it on. His poses were entertainment for the entire group. They would stop what they were doing to watch him. Basically, he was the lead role in this impromptu performance.

He did not know it, but his butchering was my alarm clock the next morning. It is hard to sleep when animals are chopped to pieces outside your window.

I wanted to try to talk with him. Both of us wanted to have a legitimate conversation, but it was not going to happen. It was more like point, laugh, repeat.

An hour later, a drunk man came up to me while I watched Nerey and others roast the pigs. He tried many times to grab my arm, but Nerey would not let him. I thought the machete and butchering knife he had in his hands was good reason to listen to him.

He wanted the drunk man to know that I was his friend and he should not mess with me. It felt good to know he had my back, even though we could not talk.

As the women finished cooking the food, they needed to put it into large serving containers. Nerey had an idea to speed up the process. He grabbed a plate from the ground (I'm sure he washed it first) then used it as a shovel to speed up the process. The joy on his face afterwards was priceless. He was proud of his achievement, and the women used his method the rest of the morning.

Nerey and I were never able to exchange a full conversation, but I loved the experience we shared.

Bryan Clifton

Oklahoma City, OK