If you're in an African village, and you don't speak the language, it can be awkward. Of course, if you're important enough, or organized enough, maybe you'll get a translator, but if not, here are my tried and true ice breakers for making friends with smaller people from the village.
1. Painting toenails. Or fingernails. Happy moments here! I discovered this one on the side of a road in Kenya, many years ago, when we had a flat tire on the way to church.
2. Taking pictures and then showing your new friends their pictures in the back. A Polaroid is even better! A really nice part of this one, is that you have the happy memories afterward.
3. Share Tic-tac's. I suspect any little snack would work, but I want to put what I have actually tried and found successful. You might want to be discreet on this one, or you WILL be mobbed.
4. Share hand cream or hand sanitizer. Again, you will be mobbed. Some of the Mommies got in on this one, and we all had a good laugh, but my hand cream ran out too fast.
5. Shake hands with everyone. That doesn't run out!
6. Start learning words in their language. I felt like I had a comedy act ready to go on the road with the laughs I got as I tried to mimic Sotho words when we were in Zebedeilia earlier on this trip. I mean, move over Tim Hawkins, I had people with tears running down their faces, just at the way I pronounced words! It's a heady feeling.
7. Whip out a Frisbee! Those are a thrill when they're a rare commodity. In our most successful village using Frisbees, the people watched and said, "Oooo," the noise rising or falling as the Frisbee rose or fell. Come to think of it, that same village loved watching our boys sword fight. I can't claim that one, as I've never done it, but I know it was a hit.
Cutie pies! My friend Hilary said, "If you love people they can usually tell, and that makes up for a lot of awkwardness." "This is love, that we walk according to His commandments," God tells us. I'm glad He made little people easy to love.