Orani also inoculated me against snobbery. My father was almost entirely self-taught, having barely attended school, and most of my relatives have never pursued higher education. Yet the depth of his and their intelligence is evident to me. The family trade was masonry, what we here might call construction work. In America, when my father made sculptures for buildings in public spaces, I sometimes assisted him, and the ease with which the two of us moved among the electricians, carpenters, plumbers, and masons on the job made me proud.
Orani taught me to relate to people with directness and lack of pretence. In America, people often commented on my father’s charm and immediacy of presence. Only recently have I realized that not only most everyone in his extended family, but most everyone in the village of Orani shares this quality of genuineness.