“In Africa We Share”Posted: March 2, 2012
It’s getting harder to write on the blog, now, as the things that were unusual/exciting before are now just normal. I think that’s a good thing though. Instead of spending all my time trying to learn names, I’m now trying to master the sand-and-rock game that we always play (still have yet to win), and observing how quickly my little sisters are growing up. The four year old, Eliza, just decided this week that she feels comfortable trying English. I think she has been quietly observing me but keeping her knowledge a secret – now finally she has decided to demonstrate her perfect imitation of my accent in the form of complete sentences. The littlest one, Eveline, was a tiny baby when I met her, and now she’s learning to walk! That’s crazy to me. Also she calls me “Mama” and cries when anyone else holds her.
One thing that everyone says here, is “In Africa We Share”. I like that phrase way more than the more-pessimistic-seeming “This is Africa”. But I really feel like I’m beginning to understand it. The annoying parts are that people are constantly asking for money or food – but the downsides are FAR outweighed by the rewards. Anytime any child has food, they share it with everyone. Which I think is just such a wonderful lesson for people to learn – that even when having a bag of chips is a prized rarity, you still only get a quarter of the bag, and the rest is freely distributed. I feel wonderfully blessed to witness such selfless sharing. And child-rearing? Not totally up to the parents. Yesterday I happened to be holding a baby (named “Lee-Boy” Hm.), and was therefore expected to take responsibility over feeding him, and then hosting him on my shoulder for a nap. This wasn’t a verbal request, but an automatic expectation. And my laundry is never completed by me alone. Instead Eliza and her gaggle of 3 and 4 year old friends show up to help with smaller items like my underwear (no secrets in the village, eh?). Eliza walks around the perimeter of the scene, supervising and personally inspecting each article of clothing before it can be approved for the drying rack.
Other than that everything has been normal! Though I did get to play as a double for a nun in a German show (Un Himmels Villen) for a whole week, and I had a run-in with a hippo on the river. We were 6 feet away from each other and had an eye contact moment before the boat was whisked away to safer waters.