Every now and then, I like to play with the kiddos around here. This is Andrew. His mother is a student at FRO and she is one of the most hardworking and happy young ladies I know here. Her eyes get huge when she talks to you especially when she’s excited. Here, Andrew decided to grab onto my earrings and yank a little… silly guy.
Although a lot of the youngsters tend to be afraid of Munu’s and their ghostly appearance, this one is far from screaming his head off or running to mom when foreigners are present. Little Atim actually does the opposite. We read books together, played football where he would start crying if one of the students took “his” ball away, he even held onto my hand as we pushed a wheelbarrow while students cleaned up the school compound.
I hadn’t seen him in awhile but just last week during an International Women’s Day Celebration his mother came back to sing in the opening ceremony. She let me take Atim to buy a water and Dorice the shop owner gave him a yellow lollipop… which is cute in a way except I have long hair and the lollipop becomes a fly magnet with its sweet stickiness.
Atim fell asleep on my lap as I watched traditional cultural dances. There was a large wet spot on my chest from where his head rested but thankfully my skirt wasn’t soaked with an alternative, not so friendly, liquid.
This is an example of what happens when kids are “fearing you”. In my compound where I live, there are two children. One who loves coming up to me while I chat with his mom and opens and closes my screen door as he watches me wash dishes, and then the other one who used to seriously attack the leg of her mother when I entered the compound courtyard. Thankfully, the girl is used to me now. I’m not going to try to pick her up or anything but at least she doesn’t scream bloody murder when I’m around.
Speaking of frightened children, when I lived in the hut, the child to the right would run around the hut when I came home. Slowly by slowly, she became brave to the point where we would play with alphabet cards and we would share tangerines. On the day this photo was taken, I was playing guitar and their curiosity brought them closer and closer to the door… and at one point Barbara started swaying with one foot inside the hut. She didn’t dare go further since it was “Cindy’s” hut.
The kids in the hut compound never stopped amazing me. One day, Patience, her brother, and a friend stopped by with their hats that they were very proud of. The funny thing was that these are little plastic packets that hold vodka and the like… I’ve seen young kids drinking them straight which is really sad. Kinda gross to think about the germs as well. Eh, without many toys around, you make do with what you can.
And then there are the days that remind me of when I was a kid. Well, I grew up in Alaska so it was SLIGHTLY different. We had sleds and would have our massive dogs pull us on top of the snow where as here they have jerrycans that are cut in half then have their sisters drag them on the dirt/sand mixture. At the end of the day, watching the kids do kid things is really entertaining. When I’m down about one thing or another I can rely on the fact that these kids are smiling and entertained by me as well.