Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 13th 2015 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, July 13, 2015
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Children in dark blue, light
blue, green, red, yellow, orange,
purple and pink t-shirts flit and
frolic around the Buccoo Inte-
grated Facility. Excitement reigns
on opening day of the fifth annu-
al Healing with Horses Buccoo
Integrated Summer Camp.
As always, a few withdrawn children sit quietly.
Who, from this vibrant cloud of human confetti will
come to offer the hand of friendship, lifting them from
shyness, welcoming them to fun? Soon, someone will.
Group leader Charmaine Harragin laughs with two
little girls who are thrilled to be friends because their
names, although spelled differently, sound the same---
Mayah and Mya.
Children, more likely than adults to recognise simple
similarities and trust the moment, often bond imme-
diately. One of my former yoga students in Trinidad
once brought her then five-year old daughter to a lime
we were having at another student s home. The latter s
two-year old granddaughter was present. As soon as
the girls were introduced, they moved together in
magnetic silence, held hands and walked off, as if they
had always known each other.
In today s world of social media, the word friend
has taken on a shallow meaning where quantity, not
always quality, is an indicator of perceived, sometimes
hoped-for popularity. It is possible for someone to
have thousands of friends on Facebook but little or
none in real life.
Noting the quick and easy connections struck up
among diverse children at camp, I decide to ask a few
what friendship means to them.
First, I ask Charmaine who, although in her sixties,
is a child at heart.
"Friendship is the love of giving," she says. "By
being a friend to someone ... you have to be unselfish
and to know the meaning of loyalty, standing by them
in thick or thin. A friend can be any age. Colour, back-
ground and education don t come into it."
"Friendship is being kind to each other, being loving,
being helpful ... being there," explains eight-year-old
William as we chat quietly in the House of Rest.
"Are you a good friend?" I ask him.
"I think I am," he says. "My friend often comes
over to play and we go for walks with my dog ... or
I go to his house. He s the best friend I ever had."
"What makes him the best friend you ever had?"
"He always looks out for me. Like when I miss his
birthday he still saves stuff for me."
I catch up with nine-year-old Sammy, who is heading
to meet his lunchtime companions.
"Friendship is when you share with your friends
and have manners," he tells me with the tone of one
who is an expert on the subject.
"Have manners like what?" I ask.
He gives me a don t you know? look. "Somebody
bigger than you like a big teenager tell you Shhh, be
quiet , you not supposed to talk back
and tell them anything."
Seeing his playmates too far ahead,
he darts off to be with them.
The late John O Donohue, in his
book Anam Cara, (Soul Friend) writes:
"It could be a meeting on the street,
or a party or a lecture, or just a simple, banal intro-
duction, then suddenly there is a flash of recognition
and the embers of kinship glow. There is an awakening
between you, a sense of ancient knowing."
True friendship, simple, yet profound, is one of life s
The treasure of friendship
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