“Insignificant Gestures” is a short story written by Jo Cannon. She wrote the short story in 2007.
The narrator is a kind, 28 year-old man coming to Africa with the best intentions. This man is a very modest person who has sense of justice. At the time he thinks he can be a part of changing the world by helping at a local hospital in Africa. He is an incredibly caring man who easily gets blinded by what he thinks he can do and how he can help and when he realizes he cannot change the world, he blames himself. He just wants the world to be a better place and he thinks that he can make a difference. When he first comes to Africa he is a bit naive thinking he can be a part of changing an entire village but very quickly he realizes that he cannot do much of a difference.
The house he is staying at comes with a servant called Celia. Unlike everybody else who uses their servants when they want, for what they want, the narrator is very kind to Celia. He sees himself and Celia as equals and nothing less. The narrator does not even let Celia cook his dinner for him because he sees Celia as his companion and not his servant which makes the relationship between Celia and the narrator very different from other relationships back then. The narrator admires and respects Celia and he wants to help her as much as possible. They do not speak the same language but they have their own way of communicating. They understand each other even though they never exchange a single word; they speak and get to know each other via their art work. The first time Celia sees the narrator painting, she stares so intensely that the narrator cannot help but pull out a chair and push pens and paper towards her and immediately she knows what he is trying to say. Without a word they manage to communicate. The narrator mentions in the story that beginnings start with insignificant...