Africa has a bunch of kids, and I think about half of them follow me around on a regular basis. I am actually beginning to wonder if it is one of their chores.
In all honesty, over half of the population in my country is under the age of 25, and it seems that there are at least 20 little kids for every adult. Kids are everywhere.
I have written before about the methods used in raising livestock in this part of Africa, and the methods used for children appear to be strikingly similar. However, the end results are quite different. Even if the children here are “free ranged,” so to speak, they have taught me many things over the past nine months.
For some odd reason, I thought you might want to here a few of these lessons. So, I compiled a list.
- It is okay to be naked -This one is self-explanatory.
- Snot is supposed to adorn your upper lip - and the children here proudly display theirs almost everyday.
- Hair stands up better if its dirty -So why do we take the time to wash it?
- Shoes get in the way - They are obviously devices invented to confine your toes and keep you from being able to use your feet as God intended.
- Bathing is a form of torture - Kids are washed the same way as clothes… in a wash basin and scrubbed with soap. The only difference… they use a hard scrub brush on the kids. They just beat the clothes against a rock.
- If I can hide my face, the rest of me disappears - This fact comes in handy when playing games or hiding from angry adults.
- White people are fun to pet - Apparently, they think we are hairy.
- Tiny tomato paste cans make good toys - I might as well have given them a $100. As a matter of fact, you can’t fill up a Franklin with dirt and rocks and drag it around on a string.
- It is okay to use the bathroom there - or there, or here, or anywhere really
- It is easy to find things to celebrate - As of late, electricity rarely comes to the little town that serves as our “headquarters,” but we always know when it arrives because the loud cheers of children in the streets always follows it. Every time I drive my car out into the bush to stay at my little place in the village I am greeted by a parade of cheering kids, for no other reason than the fact that I came.
- Look after those who are not able - The bigger ones take care of the little ones. They feed them and they dress them (when they are not participating in lesson one). They calm them when they are hurt and they teach them how to live.
- Time is a valuable gift, when you have nothing else - and they do not have anything else, but they make the absolute most of the one thing they do have.
There is a lot to be said for wisdom. It has been the boon of those who possessed it and the ruin of those who did not. Whole books of the Bible are dedicated to instructing people in its ways. It is truly a possession to be sought.
Sometimes, we find it in the strangest places.
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