I just need to tell you about the Cutest Child Evar. Racquel, we think, is the little girl of our cleaner (who looks about 14 and definitely not big enough to have borne a child, but apparently she is married and Racquel is hers. I think).
But, you say, aren’t there simply masses of cute children in Timor?
Why, yes there are. And Timor is going through a ‘youth bulge’, with its incredibly high birth rate (average 8 kids per woman!) so there’s even more than the average country (going by ratio).
So sure. There are plenty of cute kids around, kids that are just as gorgeous as Racquel. In looks, Racquel is like a little dolly you want to cuddle. She’s probably about three, with that delicious-looking baby plumpness that makes you want to grab their arm and go om nom nom nom (our housemate Brie often does). It doesn’t hurt that her skin is the colour of chocolate, either.
But the thing that makes her the Cutest Child Evar for me is her seriousness. She’s a such quiet, serious-looking little thing. Most of the other kids, even the ones the same age, are happy, noisy, loud. Even when they’re quietly colouring in, they’re chirpy little things.
Not Racquel. Every task is performed in deadly earnest. I’ve seen her smile a few times, but it’s a brief thing – blink and you’ll miss it.
The cutest thing I’ve seen her do is grab the broom and imitate her mother, sweeping down the concrete along the side of the house. Yes there’s a dreadful view of this – her mum’s cleaning for foreigners and she’s copying that. It makes me uncomfortable. But at the same time, many mothers clean and all kids copy their parents. And the sight of teeny little serious Racquel determinedly shoving the broom along – a broom that is more than twice as tall as her – damn if it isn’t the Cutest Thing Evarrrr.
Matt claims that I like Racquel for being serious because *I* am serious. I say, hey, I’m allowed.