Remember this little girl from a post back in April?
Well she became my buddy on Gili Meno! Mila’s mother also known as “Mama Melani” to the locals, works at a shack on the beach right next to my daily hang-out spot and everyday she brings 4-year old Mila to work with her. The place I went to everyday, Mallias Child has these over-sized blue beanbags that are so comfortable and each day I’d wake up early to grab a beanbag and drag it under a bonsai tree. Yes there are bonsai trees scattered along Gili Meno’s beach for shade- PARADISE!
One day I noticed Mila playing outside of the shack, I motioned for her to come over to me and well….. the rest is history. From then on out, Mila would seek me out everyday to come and play with me. We’d swim in the ocean, play games on my ipad or draw in the sand. At first “Mama Melani” was skeptical and gave me these scowling looks everytime Mila came near me but as days turned into weeks she trusted me to watch Mila.
Even though we didn’t speak the same language we had a blast together and understood each other just fine. One day I took an early morning walk along the beach before they arrived and when I came back Mila was sitting on my beanbag chair waiting for me.
Mila has quite a personality and she is always sneaking off from her mom trying to find tourists to play with. She is a little naughty and pretends not to hear her mom when she is calling for her (or she hides). At least twice I day I would see Mama Melani chasing after Mila on the beach threatening to spank her if she didn’t get back to the shack. Mama Melani could never catch Mila though. I once asked another local if Mila had any other brothers and sisters and his response was, “oh sure she does, she has a ton of siblings because her father has 2 wives!” I had to pick my jaw up from the sand when I heard that!
My typical routine for the day on Meno was to head to the beach around 8AM and layout for 2 hours and around 10 AM I’d order my signature drink at the restaurant: a fresh watermelon juice. Sometimes Mila would come and sit on my lap while I was sitting at the bar. I noticed that my friend Rahim, who worked at the bar would not give Mila the time of day. One day I asked him about it and he told me that he and Mama Melani have been in a fight for the past 4 months because Mama Melani used to throw her trash from the shack in front of the restaurant and one day they had it out. He told me this 3 weeks after Mila was visiting me on a daily basis at the restaurant. It must have been awkward for both Rahim and Mama Melani to see Mila come and hang out with me but neither of them said anything. Rahim feels bad that they are not on speaking terms anymore because they have known each other for many, many years. He told me that once Ramadan is over at the end of July he is going to try and make amends. Who knows maybe mine and Mila’s bond will lead Rahim and Mama Melani to reconcile. God does work in mysterious ways.