Kid Magnet

Kids in Karo Village happy to see us

(Alex) Walking through an Ethiopian tribal village is like being a celebrity on the red carpet. Kids stop what they are doing to stare at you and follow your every movement. A few timid hands reach out to touch your pale skin. Some little brave hands slide into yours… then suddenly, like an explosion, the timid behavior evaporates and the kids act as if we are old friends. Small bodies fly between us, competing for the hands of the foreigners, vying for our attention.

We act as a magnet to the people of the village; everyone joins in our parade from hut to hut. I am supposed to be listening to the questions that Mom is asking, but it is hard when there are four or five children glued to your body saying “Allo! What is your name?” I respond and then there is a burst of giggles at my response. Now it is my turn to ask their names, which brings about another round of shy giggles. A few of the kids actually understand my question and they respond very quickly so that I barely catch the answer. As we walk, the children continue to shuffle between the hands of each of us.

Alexandra and Emma with their cliques

After about five minutes of walking through the Karo village, I had “my clique,” or the four kids who stuck by my side the entire time. The first member of my posse started conversation by touching my fingers and very quietly murmuring “won, doo, tree, fur, fiy”. Her name was Sorya and she loved to hang onto my wrist as if it were the most valuable thing in the world. After a few minutes of our interaction, she ran to grab her baby sister and threw her into my arms. “Amara” she whispered and re-latched onto my arm. With a baby in hand and a child on my arm, I turned to my other side where a small fight started between two little boys. When the winner grabbed my hand, he was called away, so he found a younger child to act as a ‘placeholder’ while he ran to his hut. Upon his return, he pushed the younger kid away and regained his position. My last clique member was an eleven-year-old girl named Bona who was in the fifth grade in school and was learning English. Bona took this opportunity to practice her English skills by talking to me, while I took this opportunity to get to know about her life in school. Bona dreams to attend the University in Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia) so that she can have a brighter future with her education.

For the two hours that we walked around the Karo village, my entourage stuck to my side like glue. Climbing into the cars to drive away, I received hugs from my children. Driving away was sad, but it was made easier by the idea that in the next village, the process would begin again.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!