Little Girl With a Big Personality

Havana Girl 17-3804 Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

It’s almost a couple of weeks since I returned from a first visit to Cuba, where anyone who loves photography is spoiled for options. You have the natural environment and colourful spectacles of cars as well as grand old buildings that are visual feasts, even (sometimes especially!) if they’re in decline. Last, but certainly not least, you have the people.

Havana Girl and Horse 17-3803 Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

Take this little girl, whom I saw not far from Parque Central. What’s not obvious here is that her fascination – and conversation! – with this horse took place while her mother waited a few feet away, with a toddler and an infant.

While many of the school children I saw in Havana wore uniforms or matching scarves, that wasn’t the case with all of them. I think that this curious little one, complete with knapsack, was on her way home from class. Her mum had a toddler in hand, and an infant in a stroller … and was clearly accustomed to her eldest engaging with the world around her. Horses pulling buggies are not at all unusual sights on Havana’s streets, but it seemed that this schoolgirl was keen to strike up a somewhat cheeky conversation with the horse.

Havana Girl and Horse 17-3802 Copyright Shelagh Donnelly

I speak no Spanish, apart from the most basic of courtesies, and am pretty sure the mum’s English was of the same caliber as my Spanish – but am also sure that whatever it was she called out to her daughter was the equivalent of, “Let’s get a move on.” While I was enjoying the exchange between the girl and the horse, and preparing to snap a shot, the mum and I caught one another’s eyes – and the smiles we shared spoke the language of parents all around the globe.

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