Ken came to Lumbini with the expectation of seeing the birthplace of Buddha. What he didn’t expect was to become the main attraction. A local school had decided to take their annual field trip. Most of the students were Hindu, some Buddhist, but all were curious in the scruffy Westerner at Maya Devi Temple.
After circumambulating the tree, the kids swarmed Ken who was adjusting his camera. Cell phones were drawn, nervous requests were pleaded.
One photo turned into several photos. A young boy stood on the edge of the pictures, wanting to join the group, but not knowing how to belong. When he tried to talk to Ken, his voice was quickly drowned out.
Later, Ken took the long way to the snack stand and found himself standing next to the quiet boy.
The boy held out his hand and they shook.
As an offer of friendship, Ken bought the young man a juice. He waved goodbye and headed off when he soon felt a tug on his sleeve.
The young boy placed a picture of Buddha in Ken’s hand.
One photo? Ken asked.
The young boy nodded and smiled for the camera.