A helping hand

It is not unusual for new faces from the Yasothon village to periodically appear at our residence. They range from ancient crones to tiny kids, from dying parrots to sick rabbits. Part of the deal if they stay with Ms Yasothon is that they must help her with the housework (the parrots and rabbits are spared this task). What this really means is that, after a short time, the newcomer ends up doing nearly all the work while Ms Yasothon takes on the more important supervisory role, i.e. sleeping most of the day with occasional flurries of activity to eat som tam or barbecued chicken. What you might call a satisfactory delegation of duties.
One such new arrival was a rather fragile young girl who looked about 12, but was apparently 16. She was quite an efficient worker and even more accomplished at singing totally out of tune. Apart from the initial horror at the sight of a perspiring Crutch tottering around the house in a pakoma, she adapted quite well to life in Bangkok and after a while no longer sprinted for the door in terror when I appeared.
One aspect of life this new arrival had difficulty coming to terms with, however, was that admittedly frightening instrument, the telephone.
One day I took a call for Ms Yasothon who happened to be busy as usual diligently delegating somewhere, so I gave the phone to the new girl. She appeared a bit reluctant at first, but eventually took the phone. As I wandered off into the garden I could hear her repeating “Allo, Allo”, followed by assorted exclamations indicating that she couldn’t hear any response.
After a few more “Allo, Allo’s” I returned to see what the problem was. It was just a minor snag — she was holding the phone upside down, talking through the earpiece and listening through the mouth-piece. It turned out that this was the first time she had ever held a phone, her village not exactly being a hub of high-tech communications.