No Language Barrier

Siara - Waxhaw, North Carolina
Entered on April 30, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: equality
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Before I even had the chance to place both of my feet off of the bus and on the ground, a pretty, little orphan girl ran up to me and threw her arms around my waist. A little startled, I took a slight step back, then relaxed, and put my arms around her. I was a complete stranger to her, yet she hugged me with love.

I looked down at this little, Nicaraguan girl, whose arms were tightly wrapped around me. She had on a patterned dress with pink and red flowers. Her dark skin matched her brown eyes. Her hair was clipped back and she had a smile that could light up this whole world.

Spanish words began to flow from her mouth like a river without an end. My heart ached to understand what she was trying to tell me.

Rosalinda was her name. I understood that much. What a beautiful name, I thought. Words continued to roll off her tongue. I quickly realized that she spoke not a single word of English.

Realizing that I could not understand her, she sighed, then dragged me over to her “room” in the orphanage. There were about 30 beds all in a row. I tried to ask her (with motions) to show me which bed was hers. She finally understood what I was trying to motion and led me to a bed with only a single blanket and a stuffed teddy bear. I smiled. She then pulled me to the center of the room and I gathered that she wanted me to pick her up and spin her in circles. I smiled again. How could I resist that innocent, beautiful face of hers? I spun her around for over 20 minutes. I loved listening to her laugh. She was happy, which made me happy. I had only known this girl for an hour, and we speak completely different languages, yet there is such a strong connection.

About two short hours later, it came time for me to leave Rosalinda and go back to the hotel. I knew I was not going to see her for a long time. As her sparkling brown eyes glanced up and locked with mine for the last time, I felt a tear slide down my cheek. I leaned down to her and gently whispered in her ear, “Te amo mucho, Rosalinda. Te amo mucho.” She whispered back; her words broken, “I…love…you.”

I hold this little girl so very close to my heart. When I think of her now, I envision her smile. Rosalinda and I spoke completely different languages, yet I will never forget the impact she had on my life. It was not through words, but through smiles, love, and Jesus Christ. When Rosalinda and I shared those three things, it didn’t matter what language we were speaking…

I believe there is no language barrier.