Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Things I Will Miss About Botswana : The Kids

This is a new series I will be running from now until the time I leave Botswana.

There are a lot of little kids in the "neighborhood" around my house. Most of them are too young to go to school so I see them playing in the streets any time I walk by. There are two brothers (far right and far left in the picture above) who I taught how to give me a "high five." They speak no English except now they run and yell, "High Five!" endlessly whenever I walk by. They then taught every other little kid in the area how to say it and so I get bombarded from all sides when I walk down the street.

I have tried to teach them my name, even my Setswana name, but they have never used it. Instead, they have taken to calling me "Lekgoa la me" which translates into "my white person" or "my foreigner." I find it very funny to be followed down the street by a bunch of kids running, waving their arms wildly, and yelling, "My white person!" over and over again. Its not like I wouldn't stick out otherwise.

I recently taught them how to give a "high ten" and a "low ten." Now mixed in with the constant cries of "high five" are "Dira Ten!" which is a mixture of Setswana and English for "Do 10!" I can be having the worse day ever, but those kids will immediately bring a smile to my face and they have this amazing ability to make my day better. 

When I was going through the recruitment process, my recruiter told me that volunteers who served in Africa sometimes had problems with being a minor celebrity, especially when they had to adjust back to life in the US. I don't know if I quite feel like a celebrity but I do know that I will miss having these little kids drop everything and come running over just to give me a high five.