Africa is full of people. There's grandmas and grandpas, mamas and babas, old people, young people. There's white people, but mostly black. There's tall people, there's short. There's fat and there's thin, but mostly fit. And there's children. That's where my heart is, with the children of Africa...of Tanzania. I don't think there's a more beautiful sight than a little, black, smiling child. Maybe if they were laughing, then maybe that would be the best. But nothing else could surpass the beauty of people than that.
And then there's 'my' children...and they consist of little boys. Some might think it odd that the little boys capture my heart more than the girls, since I am more of a girly-girl, but it's true. In our compound there is three littles -Shanya, Danny, and Davie. Shanya and Danny are twins, and the sons of the local pastor. From morning til night they are running in and out, since their house is right next door. Shanya is a fast learner for English, and has fun with that. His eyes are huge and he always has laughter in his heart. He is easily humored, as well as one who makes others laugh. He loves to sing and dance...and make his eyes look funny. Danny is a little more serious, and sometimes moody, but without him life would be missing something. He's the one who will sit in my lap and watch the volleyball game for an hour. He's the one who'll come in with a stick and tell me I'm a bad girl...until I tell him I'm going to cook porridge, then I'm his best friend.
Davie started out hating us, but now? We're his second family. If all the Africans were to have a smiling contest, I'm sure he would win. His laugh is so big, and I treasure it because for a month he wouldn't laugh. He loves bananas, and he's always eager to go through my bags after I return from the market...just in case there's a banana in there. If he's ever sad, there's one thing that makes him happy again - and that's to sit with him and call each other names. "wewe ni ngombe." (you're a cow) he says with a look to offend me. "oh, but wewe ni ndege" (you're a bird) I say. "wewe ni chapati!" he says, laughing. "mimi ni nzuri sana!" (I'm very good!) I reply back. It never fails to bring lots of laughter.
All three boys are four years old. The perfect age, right? Below are a couple stories I wrote in my journal the other day.
One night we were having dinner at the Mgangas' and while we were waiting to eat Danny laid on the floor. "mimi ni kufa." (I'm dead) So we checked him and carried him across the room for burial. He thought it was the silliest thing ever. Later Kat asked him to teach her Swahili. He got real quiet, went across the room and got a stick. He proceeded to point at the numbers on the fridge. "one. two. three. four. five." Kat repeated each one to him, and as she finished he said "eh, hehh." He's a teacher's boy for sure. :) Then he started whipping me because I was a "very bad student." haha!
One day Shanya and Davie were at our house and Shanya had a stick. (seems like they always have sticks.) I took it from and and bent over, like a grandma. In Africa, you always show respect to your elders and say "Shikamoo" meaning "I am beneath you." Their reply is "marahaba", meaning "Indeed it is so." Shanya, of course, gave me the proper greetings. Then I walked around, having a very hard time at it...and fell over. Shanya laughed so hard he fell over. Then we imitated me and fell on top of me. That kid. I love him to pieces.
I smell the poato soup I'm cooking up for lunch, and really need to go check it. And I can almost hear the growling tummies of my family, so I'd better go check it before I get in trouble with hungry people. :) I'm going to try and update this blog more while here, so wish me luck.
til next time,