with Hand Signs
by Ashish Sharma
(Amritsar, Punjab, India)
*This gentleman from India helped a Brazilian tourist!
I am Ashish, from India
. I have a heart touching story about how I decide to learn Portuguese.
Three years ago, I didn’t know where Brazil was neither what the Portuguese language was.
My home is near a temple
, where streets are bit complex. I was going to the market alone that day, and was walking near a railway station when I saw a foreigner girl talking to a taxi driver. She was very scared.
As a gentleman I went to that girl and asked her if there was any problem. She told me something, which I couldn’t understand. Then I realized she was not speaking in English. I didn’t even know what language she was using.
By using hand signs I told her to just relax. She showed me a photo, and I understood that she was with some friends. She showed me a paper where name of some places were written, and she was pointing to the name of the temple that was near my home. Then she pointed her finger towards photos of her friends.
I realized that she wanted to go there or her friends were waiting there, then I decided to help her out. The language we were using was hand signs. She told me that she was sleeping in the hotel when her friends went to the temple, and then she decided to go to the temple, too. Their guide was with their friends, so she was alone. I should help her because she didn’t know English and because of this that taxi driver was making fun of her.
I told her to follow me. She knew about just
10-15 words in English. She was saying ‘please’, ‘friends’, etc. I wanted to ask her where she was from but I didn’t know how, so I start spelling some names of countries like Australia, America and Canada…
She understood what I was trying to say and she said “Brazil”. Then I asked her some names of languages like English, French, Spanish and she said “Portuguese”. I had not heard the name of that language before.
I asked her by hand sign if she wanted to drink water. She answered by shaking her head, so I bought her a bottle of water, and we went to the temple through the crowded streets. She was very confused and she was looking like a child – afraid of that busy crowd. She was saying some things continuously, but I didn’t get what she was saying.
When we reached the temple market she suddenly shouted and said some words. That word was ‘amigo’, and pointed her finger towards some people. I looked and realized that some foreigners were standing there. Then we move to them. She made a long talk to them and one of them knew English. Her friends told me that the girl was saying thanks to me. Her friend told me her name was Kimberly. When I was about to leave she gave me a hug and kiss my finger, and all the people were staring at me!
From that day on I started learning Portuguese.
Today I still hope that if Kimberly comes here again someday, there will be no language barrier among us. I didn’t know her e-mail, but I hope to meet my first and last Brazilian friend again...